The IMF/World bank forced an 'Economic Structural Adjustment Programme' on Zimbabwe in the early 90's..
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When at the outset of ESAP in 1991, ZANU (PF) abandoned its mild social welfarism of the 1980s to go into partnership with the World Bank as Africa's newest reform-oriented star performer, the party promised reduced unemployment, less bureaucratic red tape, higher productivity and rapid wealth creation. The price for rapid development, it cautioned, was short-term deepening hardship in the form of social services cutbacks, skyrocketing consumer prices, the swamping of local markets with imports and sharp temporary increases in unemployment.
But while suffering over the last five years proved even more intense, widespread and chronic than the state initially predicted, the pay-offs did not materialize. Five years on, most of government's promises remain unfulfilled, while the hardship of ordinary Zimbabweans seems without end.
Despite its comparatively high-performing economy over much of the 1980s, Zimbabwe now appears firmly lodged in a quagmire of mounting debt, generally inadequate growth and plummeting living standards. Most macroeconomic indicators show continued overall decline and little relief on the horizon.
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