What are Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs)?
“Structural adjustment” is the name given to a set of “free market” economic policy reforms imposed on developing countries by the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF)) as a condition for receipt of loans. SAPs were developed in the early 1980s as a means of gaining stronger influence over the economies of debt-strapped governments in the South. To ensure a continued inflow of funds, countries already devastated by debt obligations have little choice but to adhere to conditions mandated by the IMF and World Bank. Most donor countries, including Canada, condition their bilateral assistance upon a country’s adoption of structural adjustment programmes.