One of the central tenets of much current development thinking in southern Africa is that market-oriented strategies and private sector involvement must be the basis for future economic growth.
This has underpinned structural adjustment and economic policy reform policies in the region over the last decade or more. It also underlies the argument for encouraging external foreign direct investment as a motor for growth. However, growing evidence suggests that such a strategy has not paid off. Economic growth rates have been disappointing, private, and particularly foreign, investment has been limited and employment in the formal sector has fallen dramatically. Structural adjustment and market liberalisation has clearly not delivered the developmental benefits claimed of it, and people’s livelihood opportunities and vulnerability have, it seems, respectively declined and increased over the same period.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 34.3 (2003) The Rural Poor, the Private Sector and Markets: Changing Interactions in Southern Africa