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Report of the International Conference on Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa

9. Panel Discussion
 
Richard Humphries, from the Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN), chaired the panel discussion. Members of the panel included: Mr. Clifford Tandari from the Tanzanian Vice President’s Office Poverty Reduction Department; Mr. D. Mzumara from the Economic Commission for Africa; and Ms. Idalina Oliveira Valente, Member of the Angolan National Assembly, and a Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Issues.

Tanzania

The PRSP document had been prepared in a simplified format, and has further been translated into local languages. This has enabled the ordinary people at the community level to access the information. Cartoons have also been used in the document to make it easier to be understood, and to further stimulate information sharing even among the illiterate. In the same vein, Posters have been used in the promotion of the PRSP. In addition, Radio stations have also been used to stimulate discussions around the PRSP. Religious organizations have been involved in the dissemination of information on the PRSP as well as in the implementation process.

With regard to the comprehension of the PRSP at the Executive level, and the impact on the decision making process, Tanzanian politicians as well as the government have been very supportive of the process. The President and Prime Minister are well informed; there is a cabinet committee on the PRSP; the budget speech focused on the PRSP; there is even a government website focused on the PRSP (www.hakikazi.org/engz).

Evaluation of the performance of the PRSP, as well planning for the following year, will be done on a yearly basis. The evaluation will also assist in the Budget preparation. The PRSP will be a living document that will be able to take on new issues as they arise.

The Monitoring and Evaluation tool:

  • Shows the main activities in the Review Year.


  • Touches on the Micro-economic performance.


  • Brings out priority areas.


  • Provides community indicators to be used by the community itself.


  • Takes into account cross-cutting issues such as good governance, gender and the role of the judiciary, and how the PRSP improves the situation.


  • Provides opportunity for the inclusion of other community concerns, for example environmental issues.


Through the document, the government will be able to popularize achievements in other poverty related programmes. MPs will be used as advocates, and the role of the media will be identified. Tanzania has a good structure for governance, right from bottom to top the system is well organized.

In order to ensure that the process of poverty reduction is strengthened, it is important for donor countries to consider Debt. Cancellation instead of Reduction, and to provide assistance, which promotes sustainable human development as opposed to poorly targeted loans, which simply add to the debt burden of heavily indebted countries.

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Although it does not implement any PRSP, ECA is able to share experiences in terms of:

  1. Learning from the experiences of other countries.
  2. Monitoring and Evaluation.
  3. Governance.
  4. Capacity Building.
  • Learning from Experiences of other countries

    • Best Practices.


  • Monitoring and Evaluation of PRSP implementation

    • There is need to consider cost effective methodologies to monitor poverty.


    • Poverty Mapping. For instance in South Africa they use Integrated Household Surveys, and other sources to provide maps.


    • Consider the multi-dimensional nature of poverty.


    • Ensure that measurement of indicators is understood the same way by all countries.


    • Consider the Logical Framework in terms of:

      • The need for verifiable indicators for the achievement of objectives.
      • The need for properly defined indicators to measure poverty.
      • The need to plan in order to deal with macro to micro mismatches.


  • Governance

    • The ECA takes into account the perceptions of people, households and civil society in general of governance issues such as corruption.


    • The ECA will be obtaining information from government publications on the PRSP process, and publish this information every 2 years.


    • It is important to be clear whether countries are talking about Poverty Reduction or Poverty Eradication.


  • Capacity Building

    • The ECA is able to provide free, but short capacity building services (2 weeks long).


    • The World Bank has a trust fund for capacity building in statistical skills.


    • The ECA provides advise in gender analysis and planning.


9.3 Angola

  • There is need to emphasize the importance of political will.


  • The Budgetary allocations need to ensure the equal distribution of resources, therefore the importance of the PRSP.


  • Angola, with a population of 12 million, is just recovering from a civil war. Eighty two percent (82%) of the population is poor, 22% of whom are very poor; 3 million are displaced; 150,000 are disabled; and 50,000 children are disabled. These statistics indicator just how important the reduction of poverty is for Angola.


  • The PRSP intervention will be of great benefit to the country.


  • The country is in need of capacity building, and has learned some useful lessons from Uganda and Tanzania, as well as from the Malawian experience on the role of Parliament.


  • Angola is looking to ways of integrating into the PRSP programme in order to alleviate the poverty levels.


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