Editor’s Note: May 03, 2019
Structural adjustment is making a comeback
Fuel distribution workers in Tunisia started a three-day strike on Thursday after wage talks with the government collapsed. It’s the latest in a series of strikes and protests over worsening economic conditions
The country has struggled since the ousting of former ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, which kicked off the Arab Spring.
Growth has averaged just 1.7% since 2015, with investment slumping to $900m in 2017. Youth unemployment is almost 37%,
This is only part of the story.
Public anger is also being fueled by IMF-backed austerity, part of a $2.8bn loan agreed in 2016. This has brought with it a familiar checklist of conditions, including public sector cuts and price hikes
The result is a government struggling to balance the demands of its citizens and donors.
In February it raised public sector wages against the wishes of the IMF. This led to a “very difficult” loan review in April, with the lender agreeing a $247m disbursement contingent on hitting a 3.9% budget deficit target.
Put differently, expect more austerity.
Tunisia is walking a tightrope reminiscent of the dreaded structural adjustment programs of the 80s and 90s. With cash-strapped African governments flocking back to the IMF amid fears of a new debt crisis, it’s a preview of things to come.
From The Continent
Kenya has introduced new gambling regulations, part of a crackdown on its booming sports betting industry, which the government accuses of causing an addiction epidemic among young Kenyans. Measures include a ban on outdoor and social media advertizing. More: Daily Nation
Angola is hoping to see its first ever initial public offerings this year as Africa’s second-biggest oil producer prepares to launch a domestic stock exchange. This coincides with a government plan to privatize up to 74 state-run companies. More: Reuters
The Daily Stat
The turnout in parliamentary elections held in Benin last week, which included no opposition parties. More: Al Jazeera
The Global Perspective
The UK and Nigeria have discussed plans to introduce naira-denominated instruments into London’s financial market, part of efforts to deepen economic ties. This comes during a visit by British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is on a five-country tour to promote post-Brexit relations with the continent. More: Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged $52m in funding to support security forces in Burkina Faso. This is part of a wider effort to counter escalating Islamist militant attacks in the so called G5 Sahel countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. More: The National