DEBT AND ITS RISKS FOR PRO-POOR DEVELOPMENT
risk of the imposition of harsh economic and austerity policies that will not serve the interests of the poor and instead those of the vulture capitalists who prey on debt distressed countries like Zambia. It is not a new situation for the country. In the early 1980’s as the country which was welfare orientated struggled to meet its external debt it began to give in to a series of IMF/ World Bank prescribed austerity policies which saw the cutting of public expenditure on welfare subsidies for the poor, like maize meal a staple food. These cuts, which occurred within the context of a new epidemic HIV/AIDS saw a significant drop in the life expectancy, as people struggled to meet their nutritional needs and as the country failed to borrow funds for its health sector. These combined factors saw a significant drop in the country’s life expectancy, and a national crisis of orphans.
Making matters worse, from the 1990’s the rapid and obscure privatisations of key sectors of the national economy, like the mines,(also part of the previous IMF/World Bank policies) saw the de-industrialisation of the countries nascent industrial sector and the laying off of over two thirds of the country’s working skilled populations. These policies decimated the skills sector of the country, and killed productive sectors of the economy, as it was steered towards a speculative, rather than productive one.