Information for G02116
PRSP rhetoric: sugar-coated structural adjustment reality? (PLA 51)
Journal article published in PLA 51: Civil society and poverty reduction.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approach was initiated in 1999 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. PRSPs were to be the operational basis for their concessional lending to low income countries and for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. PRSPs are prepared by governments through ‘participatory’ processes involving national stakeholders and external development partners, including the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). According to the World Bank, PRSPs describe the macro-economic, structural and social policies and programmes that a country will pursue to promote broad based growth and reduce poverty. At the
time of writing, 34 countries are implementing PRSPs.
Five principles are stated to underlie the PRSP approach:
• country ownership through broad based participation of
• results should be focused on outcomes that are beneficial
to the poor;
• long term perspective on poverty reduction;
• recognition of the multidimensional nature of poverty; and
• partnerships should be orientated to ensure the involvement
of governments, domestic stakeholders and external
This article analyses the PRSP experience by looking at four of the five principles outlined above to assess the formulation, monitoring and implementation of the PRS processes and contents on the part of civil society.