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From mckeever@ccnet.com Wed Feb 28 05:25:09 2001
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 21:45:04 -0600 (CST)
From: mckeever <mckeever@ccnet.com>
Subject: [toeslist] FWD: [stop-imf] Tanzania Gender Networking Programme on IMF/WB in Africa
Article: 115808
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Statement from Gender Groups

To chief executaives of the World Bank/IMF at their meeting in Dar es Salaam, 21 February 2001

The Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) and other gender groups have followed with interest the visit this week by the IMF and World Bank heads to Africa, and Tanzania in particular. In their press release, these visitors from the two major International Financial Institutions have declared their interest in listening to the voices of Africans when designing and implementing policies. However, these drivers of the world's macro-economic policies have yet to demonstrate that they are following a very new or different approach to development. For example, in their schedules of consultative sessions in Tanzania, they only plan to devote a one-hour session on the last day of their visit for meetings with civil society actors. This practice seems to directly negate these institutions' proposal to work in partnership with the civil society in Africa. Therefore, we expect this one-hour meeting to be quality time with the Chief Executives of both institutions and not only with officials.

The issues on the agenda for discussion at this week's meetings with African leaders, namely the economy, HIV and AIDS, trade liberalisation, and corruption are of vital interest to women, men and youth in Tanzania. However, they have not put on the agenda for discussion the larger frameworks driving their policies, such as liberalisation, privatisation, and debt. In the past, the strategies designed have not taken into account the needs of various stakeholder groups in Tanzania and other African countries, and their impacts have been more destructive than positive. For example, a major evaluation of the Bank's work in Africa commissioned by Norway concluded that the design and implementation of the economic liberalisation packages [in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe] have at best had a limited impact on current poverty and at worst contributed to an increase in poverty.

World Bank and IMF economic and social policies, including privatisation and liberalisation of markets, to date have had negative effects on the livelihoods of people in Tanzania. This is no more evident than in agriculture, where many smallholder farmers face financial ruin, due to the failure by government to create viable, competitive markets, and the unjust trade practices adopted by the large-scale agribusiness corporations to purchase their crops. Crop prices are falling, farm input prices are rising, and many of these vital inputs are often not delivered at all, or not on time. The food security of the whole nation is now at risk, as a result of liberalisation, and its negative impact on food production carried out by smallholder farmers, especially those in the south and west of the country, which was formerly the breadbasket of Tanzania. In addition, Pastoralist livestock-keepers have been completely neglected by these policies.

While the Bank claims to uphold the importance of equity as the basis for stable society and economic growth, little in its policies seems to actualise this goal. In terms of imports and exports, most of the imports have been detrimental to the local markets, such as used clothes and milk. Factories that have been privatised since the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) have been working at lower capacity, with fewer staff, and a number have gone out of operation. For example, the textile industry, once a major growth industry in Tanzania, has collapsed. The initial perception of job creation from the privatisation exercise has not proven to be valid.

Due to user fees and privatisation of public services, fewer people are accessing education and vital health services. One result of this is that enrolment rates in primary school have declined from 93% in the 1980s to 66% in the 1990s. Supposed exceptions of users fees for the provision of health services in relation to pregnancy, AIDS, mental illness and other health issues are not functioning in Tanzania, particularly burdening poorer social groups. A dual system of education and health has emerged, such that the rich and their children monopolise high cost private schools and medical facilities, leaving the poor to use the under-financed public social service system.

The issue of debt has not been on the agenda for discussion with African countries, although it is an issue that clearly requires dialogue between Africans and the Bank, as the current debt relief arrangement is inadequate. As Tanzania has carefully followed the guidelines set down by the IMF and the World Bank, it will now be eligible for debt relief through the HIPC initiative (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries). This initiative was used as an incentive for Tanzania to comply with thirty additional adjustment conditions, many with heavy social costs for Tanzanians, youth and women in particular. The amount of money being saved from debt relief is marginal compared to the total money being used for debt servicing. In fact, debt service payments will actually increase in 2001 through 2004 (compared to 1999-2000), and Tanzania is expected to pay 145.1 billion shillings for debt servicing in the year 2001/02, at least 9 times more than it spends on health care. This has serious implications, particularly for a country where 40% of the population dies before the age of 35.

Most invidious of all, however, is the timeframe of twenty years, which really means twenty years of debt bondage and twenty years of forced compliance with structural adjustment measures, euphemistically called 'economic stabilisation'. Most critics agree that economic stabilisation based on World Bank and IMF prescriptions only furthers poverty and inequality, and in no way reduces them.

During their visit, one of the goals of the World Bank and IMF Chief Executive's visit is to discuss ways to decrease poverty and decrease dependency. In order to actualise these objectives and to work with African, men women and youth, we propose the following major recommendations: