WIDER Discussion Papers // World Institute for Development Economics (UNU-WIDER) 2001/120
This paper investigates poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs), launched by the International Monetary Fund/World Bank in 1999 as conditions for debt relief and loans. It queries whether PRSPs really represent a shift away from the controversial structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) of the past. Ostensibly PRSPs have a greater focus on poverty reduction, yet this investigation finds little has changed. Existing PRSPs lack essential components such as land reform and gender awareness, while changes with questionable impacts on poverty, such as liberalization and privatization, are promoted as beneficial. The ‘participation’ of civil society groups in drawing up PRSPs is found to be unsatisfactory, as is ‘ownership’ of PRSPs by governments. This paper stands as a critique of PRSPs and their assumed improvement on SAPs.
poverty reduction PRSP structural adjustment programme IMF World Bank debt relief