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Report of the International Conference on Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa

6. Lessons from Country Reports
 
The following were highlighted as lessons that can be learned from the country presentations. These included:

  1. The role of parliament as oversight of the process. Members of Parliament should, therefore, monitor the impact of the PRSP process.


  2. Good governance and political will were crucial to the success of the whole process.


  3. In light of the inadequacies of the IMF and World Bank in conceptualizing poverty in Africa, perhaps African governments need to arrive at policies as learned from experience. There is need to consider the factors affecting the effective implementation of poverty reduction, as well as ensure effective participation of the public/the poor people themselves to enhance national ownership.


  4. In all cases, the PRSP is a step forward, despite the shortcomings. However to be satisfactory there is need for comprehensive participation of civil society organizations, community based organizations and the poor themselves for valid implementation of the PRSP.


  5. PRSP is not an end in itself but a means to an end; it is a process which requires to be improved upon as other priorities are identified.


  6. For effective strategies against poverty, countries should consider the total national budget, not just concentrate on the HIPC funds and the PRSP. There is need to develop other complementary strategies for poverty reduction.


  7. African governments need to more objective in the handling and implementation of the IMF and World Bank conditionalities in order to limit the negative implications to the country’s economy.


  8. Participation in the PRSP process should be inclusive of all citizens, not just the mandate of the civil society organizations or the Members of Parliament. Adequate resources should be made available to ensure full public participation.


  9. There is need for African governments to share information on the PRSP process, and to exchange ideas on the implementation of the PSRP.


  10. African governments need to take a pro-active stand and develop for themselves alternative poverty reduction programmes that may work best for their countries, instead of adopting the IMF and World Bank strategies blindly without examining them carefully. In this vein, there was need to assess the impact of other programmes before PRSP on Poverty Reduction.


  11. Globalization has a detrimental impact on African countries, which the PRSP process has not fully dealt with. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) may offer hope in terms of mitigating the negative aspects of this process.


  12. The role of the media is information dissemination. The media needs to be brought on board in discussions of PRSP.


  13. It was important to identify the conceptual framework for implementing PRSP.


  14. Africa can learn useful lessons in poverty reduction from the ‘economic miracles’ of such countries like Japan in Asia and Germany in Europe by closely studying the processes they experienced in eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable human development.


Whilst the first day provided an overview of concrete examples of the drafting of PRSP s, the second day’s focus was on learning practical lessons from implementation processes. The main activities for day two were two paper presentations, one from Uganda and one from Malawi, respectively, and a Panel Discussion comprising representatives of Angola, Tanzania and Zambia, and facilitated by Robert Humphries from the South Africa Poverty Reduction Network.

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