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Country analysis > Mozambique Last update: 2020-11-27  

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PARPA/PRSP and poverty reduction in Mozambique: Challenges to national and international agents

4. How PARPA reflects focus on poverty reduction?
Methodological issues

PARPA design and choice of strategies reflect the analysis structure in poverty assessment. Hence, PARPA defines poverty as the inability of individuals to ensure for themselves and their dependents a set of minimum basic conditions for their subsistence (GoM, 2001).

Income poverty estimated through consumption per capita dominated the definition of poverty. Correlation analyses with non-consumables encapsulated in indicators of well-being do in a way account for the other dimensions.

However, contention on grounds of methodology has been common. It pointed to flaws in inference from poverty assessment results into actions needed to address structural imbalances and deliver poverty reduction results to the poorer segments of the population.

The link of poverty reduction to accelerated economic growth has been confronted with later years good performance of macroeconomic indicators contrasting to less clear effect on population purchasing power. Some NGO's had evidence of increased hardship in rural areas in the same period.

Resource allocation assuming a central concern on equity was fraught with discussion on relative weights to the main items and hence to the effect in ranking regions in terms of poverty. In practical terms, it implies that indexes may admit paradoxically that marginal costs for same degree of improvement may be higher in areas with better ranking.

In a recent paper NegrРіo (2002) take PARPA experience into the wider context of the global economy. Analysing the budget structure of PARPA and linking it to features of the Mozambique's economic recent past he places PARPA design as a PRSP under the controversial conditionalities of the dominant economic school of thought.

The budget for the 2001-5 period was found to emphasise construction works (36%) and recurrent expenditures (55%). Sector wise education gets 34%, infrastructure 32%, health 25%, and agriculture a mere 8%. We shall return to this paper for the discussions of proposed strategies to follow at a later stage.

Other issues

Furthermore, the backbone of PARPA was drafted at the national and sector level even before the province poverty profiles had been made available. It impinged distinctively on different sectors as their deepening in the territory (and population) varies.

Health and Education operate at very peripheral level in a consistent way thus having the potential to gather relevant knowledge on needs, means and resources to their improved performance. Agriculture sector much in need of relevant actions is less so prepared.

The availability of province poverty profiles at the consultation phase with province, civil society and NGO's and donors may have compensated for any real distortion to the extent that consultation taken place had features of a more joint-decision making.

The main constraint to better refinement, more thorough reflection and identification of relevant actions acknowledged by both officers and other participants in the consultation process was time dictated by deadlines to meet the HIPC decision points so important to all as external debt relief was at stake.

In spite of these limitations, PARPA may become a guiding instrument as interaction between actors in development improve, the plan is disseminated, so that participants can see themselves as stakeholders and monitoring and evaluation enables its transformation into a rolling plan that incorporate concrete contributions and hence a national owned plan come into being.

Contemplating the above mentioned issues implies that the government as a custodian of PARPA show willingness to encompass all efforts in society in poverty reduction and a strong commitment to its implementation. The operation runs through the state channels and successful unfolding of the process up to the deliverance of expected results requires that prevailing corruption in the state apparatus needs to be tackled (Falck and Landfald, 2000).

However, both these authors and McCarthy that I shall mention within a more civil society perspective have concluded that PARPA in spite of its limitations and flaws could be accepted as an instrument for poverty reduction provided that conditions for wider participation and inclusion in the plans of specific issues from civil society be made (McCarthy Eugene, 2001).

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