Loan sharks lay debt trap

Published: Wednesday 30 June 2004

The Last Shirt Maker in Ndola bbc

Sury Patel is leaving his country, Zambia, for the us. He doesn't want to, but the International Monetary Fund (imf) has left him with no choice. As Zambia celebrates the 40th anniversary of its independence, the bbc reports that the country is now one of the 12 poorest in the world.

Patel is The last shirt maker in Ndola, one of the thousands of people in Zambia who lost their jobs or businesses due to the structural adjustment demanded by imf. The programme is a drive through Ndola, Zambia's main industrial town, where the main copper mine has shut and so have textile factories. The programme blames imf, one of the " gatekeepers of globalisation", for Zambia's tragedy. The imf prescribes short-term pain for long-term gain. Countries have to open their economies to competition, and cut subsidies to their own industries to woo foreign investment and new industries. "It has not worked in Zambia, at least not yet. Perhaps the imf's textbook ideas did not work after all," notes the programme.

This is a point reiterated by Zambia: Condemned to Debt, a study by the World Development Movement, a non-governmental organisation in uk. Zambia dropped in the un's Human Development rankings from 130 in 1990 to 163 in 2001 after implementing World Bank and imf reforms, it says.

The bbc explains how removal of tariffs on used clothes led to cheap, second-hand clothing from industrialised countries flooding Zambia, and wiping out its textile manufacturers. That's why as soon as his visa comes in Patel is moving to usa, leaving Zambia even poorer.

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