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Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers: Do they matter for children and young people made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS?

Results of a Joint UNICEF and World Bank Review

Africa Region Working Paper Series No.78

RenР№ Bonnel, Miriam Temin, Faith Tempest

December 2004

SARPN acknowledges the website of the World Bank's Africa Region Working Paper Series as the source of this report.
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It is widely agreed that HIV/AIDS should be prominent in the Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSPs) of African countries in light of the challenge the pandemic poses to poverty reduction efforts. A desk review of PRSPs and National HIV/AIDS Plans (NSPs) was therefore conducted to assess how HIV/AIDS is being addressed in PRSPs. The commitments made during the 2001 United Nations General Assembly Session (UNGASS) provide the framework of analysis, with a focus on children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS.

The results of the desk review show that the PRSP process has started to add value by bringing HIV/AIDS into national poverty planning processes, but progress in transforming stated objectives into actual programs is slow. PRSP planned actions are often not backed up with indicators and budgets, which creates a significant risk of implementation slippage. Of particular concern is the fact that the situation of orphans and vulnerable children receives little attention in PRSPs and National HIV/AIDS Plans (NSPs), despite the large magnitude of the problem in some countries This is alarming given that a serious response for orphans and vulnerable children requires long term government commitment that is embedded in multi-sectoral poverty reduction efforts.

PRSPs could do more to promote action for children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS by building on the strengths of PRSPs. First, given the links between HIV/AIDS and poverty, HIV/AIDS interventions should be directed at reducing the causes and consequences of poverty that are related to HIV/AIDS. This concerns particularly young people and orphans and vulnerable children. Second, PRSPs can play a strong role in enhancing the HIV/AIDS response. Strengthening the links between HIV/AIDS programmes and the annual government budgets would help accelerate the implementation of the HIV/AIDS response. Building stronger links between PRSPs and National HIV/AIDS Plans is a key prerequisite. Third, country ownership of PRSPs should be enhanced. Because the scope of PRSP programmes extends beyond the government budget to concern civil society, various stakeholders should play an increased role in the formulation of programmes and the monitoring of their implementation. Establishing an effective partnership among Governments and civil society organisations is therefore critical.

The Africa Region Working Paper Series expedites dissemination of applied research and policy studies with potential for improving economic performance and social conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The series publishes papers at preliminary stages to stimulate timely discussions within the Region and among client countries, donors, and the policy research community. The editorial board for the series consists of representatives from professional families appointed by the Region’s Sector Directors. For additional information, please contact Momar Gueye, (82220), Email: or visit the Web Site:

The findings, interpretations, and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries that they represent and should not be attributed to them.

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