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Tearing the Social Fabric

By Padraig Carmody

As the second most industrially developed economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank officials argued that Zimbabwe could be the first African country to succeed with economic liberalization. However, the experience of structural adjustment was disastrous, as it led to widespread deindustrialization. In contrast to predictions, a World Bank/International Monetary Fund program led to the collapse of industries it was meant to promote: textiles, clothing, and footwear. This book examines the reasons behind this seeming paradox through an in-depth case study of the experience of textiles, clothing,...

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As the second most industrially developed economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank officials argued that Zimbabwe could be the first African country to succeed with economic liberalization. However, the experience of structural adjustment was disastrous, as it led to widespread deindustrialization. In contrast to predictions, a World Bank/International Monetary Fund program led to the collapse of industries it was meant to promote: textiles, clothing, and footwear. This book examines the reasons behind this seeming paradox through an in-depth case study of the experience of textiles, clothing, and footwear sub-sectors in Zimbabwe under structural adjustment.

Economic liberalization failed because it did not relate to the local economic context. This failure led to autonomous development of the trade and financial sectors, to the detriment of production. The economic crisis that resulted is a critical factor behind recent political instability and the current crisis of governance in Zimbabwe. Padraig Carmody argues that alternatives must be based on a better understanding of the local politico-economic context in Zimbabwe.

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