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«ANSA Alternatives to Neo-liberalism in Southern Africa The search for Sustainable human development in Southern Africa Editors: Godfrey Kanyenze, ...»

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Most of the Southern African countries had practiced socialist policies at the advent of liberation. Social policy was a central issue in the nationalist agitation for independence and the post-colonial social contract on the basis of which most countries were ushered into independence. Thus the lifting of restricted access of the populace to inferior education, modern housing and heath services was, therefore, integral to the campaign by the nationalists for independence (Olukoshi 000). When the implementation of neo-liberal policies began, there was a distinct assumption that the marketing pitch that would be adopted would spur economic growth and would result in positive social trickle-down effects.

Besides the fact that predicted economic achievements have not been met, economic growth does not automatically translate to poverty eradication.

The withdrawal of subsidies and the imposition of cost-recovery/costsharing measures in the fields of social services have had direct negative

implications on popular access to these services:

4.1 Access to land Access to land in Southern Africa tends to focus more on the political dimension as compared to the market-determined allocation of the resource. Most of the land reform and resettlement programmes are aimed at redressing the past colonial biases, while private property rights are mainly assigned to the distribution (or sale) of commercial farming holdings. Women within the Southern African region, who may have access to land, often do not control this resource and very few of them are private landowners. Historically, women have access to the use of land and property by virtue of their relationship with their male counterparts in the household. In Zambia, approximately 90% of land available is under the customary regime managed by traditional chiefs. The female to male ownership of land ratio is approximately 11:89, (Beyond Inequalities 1997).

Mozambique In Mozambique, the promulgation of the 1997 Reform Land Law marked a major symbolic breakthrough in protecting the rights of the "family sector" by granting legal recognition to informal or customary land rights and introducing mandatory consultation with rights-holders prior to changes in land allocation. Nevertheless, the social and economic disruptions wrought by the civil war, coupled with a chaotic system of land administration, has given rise to multiple competing land claims and continuing dispossession of smallholders by national and foreign business interests. Under pressure from international donors and financial institutions, the Mozambican state is divesting itself of its remaining productive assets and embracing a privatised, free-market model of development. This worsens the probability of women owning land. Given that land ownership is acquired principally through inheritance, adjudication by the state and purchase in the market.

Zimbabwe Zimbabwe’s land redistribution exercise (which began in the year 2000) was aimed at addressing colonial racial inequalities in terms of access and ownership to land. A total of 4,324 farms had been distributed and 134,452 households had been resettled by the end of 2004, but only 8% of the total population that benefited from the distribution exercise were women. The land redistribution exercise incorrectly assumed that a household was representative of both male and female beneficiaries. The 2004 land audit acknowledges that the "pivotal role of women in all aspects of agriculture in the communal lands and the need to strike a gender balance in this crucial sector of the economy" yet there has been severe imbalances in the allocation of land along gender lines.

The ownership and control of land resources by women within Southern Africa remains patriarchal and strongly based on cultural and traditional values. In addition, the national laws within the Southern African region in terms of marital institutions do not support women to acquire and control land in their own right.

The socio-economic issues that affect women’s secure tenure include poverty, globalisation, exclusion from socio-economic policy formulation processes and the violation of women’s rights. The factors that influence

women’s access to land can be summarised in four broad categories:

• Formal legal system

• Custom and religion

• Status within the domestic unit

• Economic and educational system Table 8 on the next page summarises some of the initiatives that have been recommended by the United Nations (UNECA) on improving the position of women in owning and controlling land.

Figure 3. Factors that affect women’s access to land

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Source: FAO (2002), ICRW (2003) e: FAO (2002), ICRW (2003)

4.2 Financial liberalisation and access to credit Given the limited evidence, it is difficult to make an empirically grounded assessment of the gendered impact of financial liberalisation. This would require more detailed, gender-disaggregated data on patterns of borrowing, savings and investment and their trends over time, than is currently available. However, this paper makes some inferences about the possible gendered impact of financial liberalisation.

Financial liberalisation basically means: making interest rates market derived and giving financial intermediaries more control over their assets and liabilities. The importance of the financial sector lies in its ability to prove methods of payments and in a development context, in its function of intermediation, i.e. mobilising savings and translating them into productive investment. In Southern Africa, the formal financial sector is already "thin" and fails to cover all the sectors in the economy. Because, formal sector banks in the region tend to largely serve public borrowing requirements and the large-scale commercial sector, a small number of development banks or DFIs, were created to fill the gap in lending to small farmers and entrepreneurs, often not very effectively. Formal sector institutions have not served the non-corporate sector (households and small enterprises). The latter was served more by the informal sector "financing agents"’.

Table 8. Improving women’s access and control of land

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Arguably, women benefited little from earlier policies of government intervention in the financial sector, since they were rarely targeted with subsidised credit, were not well served by formal sector financial institutions and, to the extent that they did have access to financial services, were probably paying higher rates relative to men, in the informal sector, (Baden 1996). The introduction of micro-credit institutions has not achieved making affordable credit available to women.

Instead they have lost their essence of development and instead have become more competitive and profit seeking. This has resulted in women being further marginalised from accessing credit or getting to pay higher interest rates for informal financing.

Features of successful financial services to women

Rapid and convenient access to small, short-term loans Limited paperwork and bureaucracy Simple transparent terms and conditions suitable for semi-literate and illiterate clients Access to financial services close to women’s workplaces Easy access to repeat loans on good repayment Guidance on loan use and repayment Convenient and secure mechanisms for saving in small accounts while allowing ready access to emergency funds Acceptance of non-traditional collateral, e.g. third person or group guarantees, jewellery, cash or savings accounts as fixed deposits Extension of financial services through existing groups set up by women to facilitate savings or capital mobilisation Involving women in management of financial service delivery Hiring and training women from local communities to do outreach, marketing, etc.

Source: Duggleby. 1995: 54.

Citing Women's World Banking 4.3 Access to social services and infrastructure:

4.3.1 Access to education During the colonial rule in many Southern African countries such as Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, very few women had access to education. Consequently, women’s literacy is much lower as compared to that of men. Although countries such as Zimbabwe have made great strides in increasing literacy levels after independence, there are still many educational gaps in terms of opportunity and access for women within the SADC region. Mhone (1999) concludes that, "women are perceived as being less intelligent, subservient and dependent on their spouses. They are also considered emotional and therefore cannot be entrusted with positions of responsibility. These gender ideologies constrain women’s access to education and training and subsequent career choices"48 and the introduction of cost recovery and user fees under neo-liberalism has further marginalised women from accessing education.

Seychelles has managed to maintain a compulsory and free educational system since 1977 (after gaining independence in 1976). The comprehensive co-educational primary and secondary school system, Source: Gender, Poverty and Employment in Southern Africa which is free of charge, has managed to encourage an almost 100% children of both sexes between the ages of five and 1649 School dropouts in Seychelles are commonly associated with drug use, suspension, pregnancy and disaffection with school. However, girls that have dropped out of school because of pregnancy are encouraged to return to school (after having a baby). Seychelles presents a case in which the girl child can access education and perhaps improve her opportunities in seeking paid employment, assuming all other variables that may constrain women’s opportunities in seeking this type of employment remain constant.

Although the picture depicted by Seychelles is a commendable one (in terms of creating access to education for both the boy and girl child), it is not a true reflection of educational opportunities that are available to the girl child in Southern Africa. High user fees are just prohibitive for enrolling the girl child into the education system. Preference is given to the boy child as culture and tradition dictates that the boy child has better potential to succeed in school and potentially increase the household income in the future, while the girl child may be able to bring in wealth through a dowry.

The indicators of women’s access to education in Mozambique are not so encouraging. Of the 10.5 million cases reported of persons that were not able to read and write, sixty-three percent were women. Illiteracy levels in women as compared to men are much poorer in rural Mozambique as compared to urban dwellers. Only ten out of a hundred peasant women are literate, while, only fifty-three out of every hundred women in the urban areas are literate, (UNDP, 1999)50. Drop out rates in Mozambique are much higher for girls than they are for boys. This is quite disconcerting given that empirical evidence in Mozambique reveals that educating the girl child up to 7th grade increases household per capita consumption by 36%, increases the probability that a child under the age of five will complete all required medical vaccinations by 39%ent and reduces the level of infant mortality. Yet, there seems to be very little support for enrolling the girl child in primary education.

Source: Education in Seychelles: An overview: Marie-Therese Purvis, National Institute of Education, Ministry of Education and Youth, Republic of Seychelles. The article can also be drawn from: SMDJ Seychelles Medical and Dental Journal, Special Issues, Vol 7. No. 1.

November 2004.

Source: Mozambique: National Human Development Report, 2000 Figure 4A. Primary school attendance in Zambia Percentage of school-age children attending primary School in Zambia, 1992 and 1996

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The percentage of girls attending school in Zambia has significantly declined between 1992 and 1996/7.51 While 96% of boys attended primary school in 1996/7, 87% of girls managed to attend school. The overall literacy rates indicate that 33% of Zambian women are illiterate as There were two Zambia demographic and health surveys that were conducted in 1992 and 1996/7.

compared to only 16% for men. Drop out rates in secondary school is much higher for girls than for boys.

The most common reason cited for girls dropping out of primary school was lack of school fees (37%), followed by failure of exams (19%), not liking school (16%) and pregnancy/marriage (12%). The main reasons for dropping out of secondary school were pregnancy/marriage (31%).

Although Zambia is moving towards promoting the education of the girls, there are still large gender disparities in access to education and the literacy levels of the adult population.

The disparities in gender education also extend beyond primary and secondary education. This is not surprising considering that girls often fail to complete the basic education required for entry level into higher education institutions and training colleges52.

Table 9 presents the enrolment rates for males and females in vocational

training colleges for Zimbabwe:

Table 9. Zimbabwe.

Enrolment in vocational training colleges. 1997–2000

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The table reveals that female enrolment in vocational training colleges was, on average, 10% of the total enrolment for the period 1997–2000, with the highest enrolment percentage being 21% in 1999. The lack of access to vocational training and skills development for women also reflects the challenges that women will face in terms of attaining paid employment in the formal sector.

4.3.2 HIV/AIDS and access to healthcare Most of the sub-Saharan countries are implementing a number of health sector reforms that target improvement in efficiency and management of health services. This includes the slashing of public expenditures in the health service sector and roping in the private sector to increase service In 1995, the University of Zimbabwe introduced an affirmative action policy to encourage women’s enrolment. Enrolment of women increased by 26% to 35% within the first year.

However, this policy has been widely criticised by NGOS, including women’s organisations that see it as confirming that women are intellectually inferior to men.

delivery. This also ushers in user-fees as a means to regain costs.

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