Reactions to the Greek Financial Crisis and the IMF from the Africansphere

The challenges facing the Greek economy and the ensuing intervention from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help withstand further damages from the fall-out look familiar to many African bloggers. During previous crisis, the IMF was involved in proposing structural adjustments to struggling African economies, with various outcomes.
Reactions from African bloggers range from cautionary tales from past experiences to lessons that ought to be learned for their own regions.

Le petit nègre notices that Europe was reluctant to ask the IMF to step in during the Greek crisis. He is wondering why asking the IMF for help was such a hard decision for a European country when it seemed to be rather common event not so long ago in Africa. Here is why he thinks European countries are  worried about an IMF prescription for Greece (fr):

Le twist dans le cas grec et que, comme on ne peux pas dévaluer l’Euro comme on a jadis dévalué le Franc CFA, les dirigeants européens se retrouvent contraints et forcés d’aider d’une manière ou d’une autre la Grèce

In the case of Greece, the isse is that there is a strong resistance to devalue the Euro currency as fast as it has been done before for the CFA (African Financial Community). Therefore, the European leaders find themselves cornered and forced to help Greece, one way or the other.

Similarly, Lambert Mbela also argues that given the level of the budget deficits in many European countries beside Greece, substantial devaluation should be considered for the Euro (fr):

Admettons quand même que les situations sont similaires : déficit budgétaire, endettement public, taux de chômage élevé, balance commerciale déficitaire, mauvaise gestion des finances publiques, avec comme cerise sur le gâteau, fricotage des données publiques !!!
Sérieux, si c’avait été le Mexique, l’Argentine ou le Burkina-Faso qui présentait de tels manquements, Monseigneur FMI préconiserait déjà une dévaluation « compétitive » et des programmes d’ajustement structurel afin de rétablir les finances publiques.

At least, let’s agree that the conditions are eerily similar: budget deficit, public debt, high unemployment, commercial balance in the red, bad management of public finances and top it all, tempered public data !!
Seriously, if this was Mexico, Argentina or Burkina-Faso, the mighty IMF would have already prescribed competitive devaluation and structural adjustment to help the public finances.

Éric Toussaint explains that the seemingly odd provision of IMF interventions according to regions might be a direct consequence of the fact that southern countries do not have much of a say in the decision process at the IMF (fr):

l’Afrique subsaharienne occupe une place égale à la France alors qu’elle compte 10 fois plus d’habitants. L’Afrique au Sud du Sahara ne dispose que de deux membres au sein du Conseil d’administration du FMI et ces deux membres doivent exprimer le point de vue de 48 pays [..] Vous imaginez la difficulté des 48 pays africains à se faire entendre si seuls 2 administrateurs les représentent.

Although the sub Saharan African region has 10 times the number of inhabitants of France, they have the same weight inside the IMF. The region has only two representatives on the IMF board of governors and they have to voice the opinion of 48 countries [..] One can imagine the difficulty of getting 48 countries heard when they only have 2 representatives.

Map of Vote at IMF by territory in 2006 by World Mapper CC-license

Musengeshi Katata at Forum Realisance investigates further into the reasons why the Greek crisis has gone unnoticed for so long (fr). Although the IMF recently published an optimistic report on the state of the ssAfrican region (fr), many are still skeptical because the emphasis was put on economic growth, leaving many issues still unspoken (fr).
Finally, Paul Bara at AfriqueRedaction is pessimistic about a sustainable solution to the global crisis(fr):

Notre modèle de croissance basé, sur la séquence : crédit – consommation – dette, est obsolète. En second lieu parce que les systèmes politiques et les gouvernements semblent incapables de jeter les bases d’un nouveau modèle de développement [..] Un Krach parait donc inévitable en 2010 puisque comme l’explique Kenneth Rogoff, la défaillance d’un état (ou de plusieurs) paraît inévitable : se posera alors de manière aiguë le problème d’un modèle de croissance totalement inadapté (crise systémique).

Our current growth model based on the following sequence: credit- consumption- debt is obsolete. It is not helped by political systems and governments that are seemingly incapable of posing the foundations of a new development model […] Therefore a crash in 2010 seems inevitable because, as Kenneth Rogoff explains, the failure of another state ( or several others), seems unavoidable: the problem of this systemic crisis of unfit growth model will soon become more acutely apparent.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.