Lusaka – Former Economics Association of Zambia president Dr Lubinda Habaazoka says IMF policies fail in Africa because the multilateral lender does not place the interests of ordinary people at the heart of its policy prescriptions.
He made the remarks in the context of the recent US$1.4 billion IMF bailout to the Zambian government under a three-year lending programme.
Dr Habaazoka said, “Economic development models do not have “a one size fits all approach. Each country is unique and Africa as a continent is even more unique from the rest of the world.
“When foreign capital goes to the USA or UK, the host governments keep tight control over those resources and they definitely get their fair share in the form of taxes. When capital comes to Africa, it is overstated and governments get nothing from that in form of taxes.”
Dr Habaazoka said one of Africa’s biggest problems when engaging international capital was the dearth of lobbying power, adding that the continent all too often needlessly negotiated from a position of weakness.
He pointed out that not one African country had developed with help from an IMF bailout.
“Have you ever heard the IMF mention that Africa should own its mineral resources? Have you ever heard the IMF seriously tackle the issue of illicit financial flows? Have you ever heard the World Bank fund the construction of a factory? Have you ever heard the IMF give money to build a new company to be owned by locals?
“No. But they will always tell us that we should borrow from them so that we have enough forex reserves to balance our payments. They tell us that once we get an IMF package, we shall get credibility and FDI will flow into Zambia.”