Abstract

For over 10 years, the IMF has supported adjustment and reform programs in many of its low-income members through two facilities established specifically for that purpose—the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) and its precursor the Structural Adjustment Facility (SAF) (see Box 1). By the end of 1994, 36 countries had availed themselves of these facilities, in support of 68 multi-year programs (see Appendix).1 This study summarizes the findings of a review of the experience under these programs and of economic developments in the countries that undertook them. Drawing on a number of detailed studies,2 it surveys the policies that have been implemented with SAF/ESAF support, assesses economic developments, and identifies possible modifications to the focus and design of ESAF-supported programs that could strengthen economic performance. Although the study is naturally concerned with the IMF’s activities, all the countries under review also received policy advice, technical assistance, and financial support for their programs from the World Bank and other agencies and donors in the international community.

Economic Adjustment and Reform in Low-Income Countries