AO: This quote underlines the historical context of the Bretton Woods' Structural Adjustment Policies which heavily influenced the situation of libraries and educational institutions today.
The problems that PL faces, as discussed above, in Kenya and Africa are the same that libraries, publishers and booksellers face. The neoliberal policies pushed onto Africa by the WTO, World Bank and IMF have had the result of strangling educational and public libraries, turning them into beggars for crumbs from overseas. Their independence is limited and the content of what is published locally also reflects the needs of corporations, not the needs of working people. Bookselling, publishers and libraries in Kenya suffer from artificial controls on demand for books, driven by government policies such as the 16% tax on books, restrictions on recommended books in curricula and restricting diversity in the contents of books. In order to enforce such restrictive practices, the government then restricts funding to school, public and academic libraries thereby creating an artificial vacuum in book sales and availability. And yet, it is obvious if one visits public and academic libraries or even looks at street booksellers that there is a great hunger for books in general, and particularly for content that reflects more relevant and alternative views and experiences."