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Commonwealth Foundation

Commonwealth synthesis review of four country-owned poverty reduction strategies

Paper commissioned by the Commonwealth Secretariat for the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting, Georgetown, Guyana, 15-17 October 2007

D. Peretz

August 2007

SARPN acknowledges the Commonwealth as a source of this document: www.thecommonwealth.org
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Introduction

Over the period 2004 to 2006 the Commonwealth Secretariat sponsored four studies to monitor implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) process in Commonwealth countries. The purpose was to provide independent monitoring of how the PRS process, and support for it from international institutions, donors and others, was working, as seen from the perspective of recipient countries. Each study was carried out jointly by a local research institution or consultant and a UK based consultant. The four studies are:

  1. Monitoring Donor and IFI Support Behind Country-owned Poverty Reduction Strategies in The United Republic of Tanzania. Peretz and Wangwe. August 2004.
  2. Monitoring Donor and IFI Support Behind Country-owned Poverty Reduction Strategies in Ghana. Aryeetey and Peretz. August 2005.
  3. Monitoring Donor and IFI Support for Poverty Reduction Strategies: Malawi. Chipeta and Peretz. August 2006.
  4. Monitoring Donor Support to Poverty Reduction Strategy in Bangladesh: Rethinking the Rules of Engagement. Prepared by Professor W Mahmud, with Dr B Mukherjee acting as Commonwealth Secretariat Consultant. August 2006.
  1. They were discussed at successive annual meetings of Commonwealth Finance Ministers, in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Executive summaries of the four studies are annexed to this overview.


  2. Events have moved on in all four countries since the studies were completed, and of course each country’s circumstances are unique. But a number of common themes emerge from the studies that seem likely to continue to be relevant in the four countries and elsewhere. Issues emerging in Tanzania which was one of the first countries to adopt a PRS and in Ghana, where the initial PRS was launched in 2002, are likely to be the ones faced in other PRS countries in due course. (In Malawi the original PRS was also launched in 2002, but failures in macroeconomic policy and subsequent shortfalls in donor support meant it only began to be effectively implemented after a gap of several years, and rebuilding trust between government and development partners is a continuing process; in Bangladesh the PRSP was launched towards the end of 2005). The following paragraphs discuss themes emerging from the studies under six headings: design of the strategy; the extent of country ownership, and how to strengthen it; implementation; accountability; alignment of development partner support; and improving donor practices and procedures and cutting transactions costs.




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