POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY PAPER ANALYSIS
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) were introduced in 1999 by the World Bank and the IMF as a new framework to enhance domestic accountability for poverty reduction reform efforts (Web.worldbank.org). The initial Structural Adjustment Programme failed, as pointed out by Rapley, 2007, almost every country that has implemented structural adjustment programme has seen its own share of strikes and riots in response to deteriorating living standards and rising unemployment. Donors acknowledged that, lack of government commitment or “ownership” was a main factor for the failure of structural adjustment policies (Driscoll et al, 2004). ...view middle of the document...
These strategies would take the form of papers called Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (Levinsohn, 2002). Any country identified as eligible for debt relief under the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCII) scheme must produce a PRSP before receiving debt relief and concessional loans (Bradshaw and Linneker, 2003). Moreover, national governments must prepare an interim PRSP (iPRSP) as a condition for reaching decision point, and substantial effective relief, under the HIPC2 scheme (Booth,
According to Booth, 2003, PRSPs provides an opportunity to address some critical problems in both the governance of poor countries and the institutional framework of development assistance.
It offers a key opportunity to put country-led strategies for poverty reduction at the heart of development assistance (Oxfam briefing paper, 2004).
The notion of participation of ‘stakeholder ‘groups’ and other external aid providers can be seen as ‘good’ changes from the usual way of doing business.
‘There has been a much more significant break with the past in terms of the processes of policy formulation than in the content of the policies. Structural reforms and liberalisation agendas that have been pursued for more than 20 years remains unaltered’ (UNCTAD 2002:170, Cited in Whitehead 2003)
WIL PARTCIPATION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS BRING POSITIVE BENEFIT TO THEMSELVES AND THE PROCESS?
Different actors involved in PRSPs have interpreted the principal of participation differently, depending on their different roles and interest. According to McGee et al, 2002, underpinning these variations is the difference between civil society participation as a means to a more effective poverty reduction strategy and participation as a means for non-governmental actors to gain voice in their country’s policy making and political processes.
According to Norton and McGee, 2000, the participation of civil society in poverty reduction strategies is viewed as essential for their sustainability and effectiveness. Broad based participation of civil society in the adoption and monitoring of the poverty reduction strategy tailored to country circumstances will enhance its sustained implementation (www.worldbank.org). There is some evidence that civil society efforts have affected PRSP content particularly in addressing issues of marginalisation, exclusion, regional differences in deprivation and highlighted the effects of corruption and bad governance (McGee et al 2002).
HOW PARTICIPATORY AND COUNTRY OWNED IS THE PROGRAMME?
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) are prepared by the member countries through a participatory process involving domestic stakeholders as well as development partners, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (http://www.imf.org). Nevertheless, as pointed out by Levinsohn, 2002, the plan of action should come first and foremost from the recipient country and not from the...