A Panel Discussion on the 40th Anniversary of the First Structural Adjustment Loans
Sponsored by the 1818 Society History Thematic Group and the World Bank Library
Moderator: Shanta Devarajan
Panelists: (Please click HERE to read the biographies of the Panelists)
In 1980, the World Bank introduced a new lending instrument, a structural adjustment loan (SAL), which provided quick-disbursing funds to countries facing balance-of-payments difficulties. The loans were conditioned on policies and actions to correct structural weaknesses, such as distorted trade regimes, low tax revenues and wasteful public expenditures. Initially, SALs were viewed as necessary, not to say essential, in helping countries restore balance of payments equilibrium and resume economic growth. Yet, they quickly came under widespread criticism. Many economies, especially in Africa, did not grow rapidly and the conditions, such as cuts in import tariffs and public spending in health and education, were damaging to the poor. Forty years later, the criticism endures.
The purpose of the panel discussion is to hear from former World Bank staff who were involved in structural adjustment lending on the evolution of SALs and why they were so unpopular. The moderator will pose questions of each of the panelists, followed by a discussion among them and then with the audience.
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Meeting number: 157 321 0916