The Permanent Transition In Africa



Abstract: The negative impact of hegemonic neoliberal policies on women has been well documented globally, but it is more intense and absolute in Sub-Saharan Africa because of specific economic characteristics frequently found there. With few exceptions, its national economies are small, with especially small industrial sectors. Their orientation towards primary product exports, dominated by men locally and globally, remains strong from colonial rule, ended less than 50 years ago. Recent structural adjustment programs (SAPs) have only reinforced this imbalance. The credit and demand restraints associated with SAPs cause deep economic hardship among women and the poor, as consumers and workers. Capital shortage and unreliable infrastructure inhibit the anticipated supply response from local entrepreneurs or foreign investment. Widespread layoffs, higher user fees and government cutbacks in already minimal public services increase poor women's domestic drudgery, health care burdens and income pressures, while reducing their employment prospects and earnings.