When it comes to dealing with austerity, Africa wrote the textbook

Watching the thousands of demonstrators who poured into the streets of Dublin recently to protest against the tough rescue package reminded me of similar scenes in Accra, Lagos, Lusaka and many other African capitals that adopted SAPs.

To be sure, there are going to be more of these demonstrations as the shock of political capitulation sinks in and the pain of the economic consequences begins. It has been a long time since I last told my European friends that "We Africans feel your pain".

These recovery packages typically require massive cuts in public expenditure that target the social services. They increase taxes to boost government revenues and cut subsidies and the abolition of the minimum wage. This bitter cocktail forms the conditionality that triggers the flow of much-needed bail-out cash. So for Ireland, the £78bn bailout package and the £95bn Greece received in April this year, are just the beginnings of a harsh reality that was experienced by many African governments. Read More

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