An evaluation of IMF structural adjustment programmes : lessons for South Africa

Berolsky, Nuno Goncalo (2000) An evaluation of IMF structural adjustment programmes : lessons for South Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The mixed results of International Monetary Fund structural adjustment programmes in less developed countries are a major motivation for this research. Explanations must be advanced as to what may inhibit the success of such programmes. South Africa has often found itself in a precarious position- with a deteriorating balance of payments, a position similar to other countries that have accepted IMF loans. Furthermore, South Africa undertook an IMF loan in 1993. Financial support from the IMF incorporates structural adjustment programmes. These may include measures such as tighter monetary policy, reduction in the budget deficit, exchange rate devaluation and ceilings on domestic credit with increased interest rates (Ferguson, 1988). These policies illustrate the principle of ‘conditionality,’ whereby access to further loans is conditional on certain criteria being met, such as reduced budget deficits and inflation rates. The principle of conditionality has met with a great deal of criticism. Bacha (1987) and Dell (1982) argue that these aggregate demand-reducing conditions more often than not stagnate domestic economies, worsening the balance of payment and result in programme breakdowns. Essentially, they refer to the IMF conditions as ‘unrealistic.’ The IMF denies this, arguing that shortfalls are mainly due to a lack of political commitment to carry out its conditions (Winters, 1994). This issue of conditionality will be examined in detail, using three specific case studies. The aim of this study is to examine the characteristics of Brazil, Mexico and Zambia to see whether or not the IMF programmes were successful. Guidelines will be established for South African policy from these case studies. South Africa is trying to adjust to the competitiveness of the international economy. At the same time, the need for reconstruction and development exerts increasing pressures on the balance of payments. Guidelines are established for a successful economic adjustment for South Africa. The research concludes that South Africa is certainly in line for a successful transformation. The rigidities are not as extensive as has been the case in Brazil and Zambia. Institutionally, South Africa is sound. However there are still challenges in this area, such as export diversification and economic stability to attract foreign investment.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:International Monetary Fund, South Africa, Structural adjustment
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Commerce > Economics and Economic History
ID Code:2172
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:07 Nov 2011 11:54
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:22
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