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Pro-poor development: Ethiopia and partners' co-operation

Pro-poor development: Ethiopia and partners' co-operation

International institutions, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and IMF, have strongly encouraged countries to develop Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP).Indeed, these are now widely considered a precondition for the provision of  sustained financial support for development whether in the form of loans or grants. The institutions have also underlined the need for PRSPs to include annual progress reports on a country's macroeconomic, structural and social policies and programs, to promote broad-based growth and reduce poverty as well as detail associated financing needs and sources of financing. They strongly recommend that the PRSPs start with a summary of current knowledge and a detailed analysis of a country's poverty situation. They are also expected to include descriptions of any existing poverty reduction strategy and lay out a framework for producing a fully developed PRSP in a participatory process involving domestic stakeholders as well as development partners.

Overall, international institutions emphasize that preparation and implementation of poverty reduction programs and plans should be country-led and that governments should assume full leadership of the process. Equally, this should involve endorsement of poverty reduction initiatives by the highest political authorities and the involvement of relevant ministries, parliaments, local government administrations and citizens. There should also be a role for international partners including financial institutions and civil society as this will help to fine-tune the content and implementation of poverty reduction strategies and to integrate initiatives with core processes for policy making and program implementation, including annual budget cycles and medium-term expenditure structures. In sum, poverty reduction programs should be based on as full an understanding of poverty trends and determinants as possible, carrying out adequate poverty diagnosis by region, social groups, and gender.  Any such programs and initiatives should put in place relevant and prioritized targets and indicators, and appropriate proposals for monitoring and evaluation. They should clearly define targets, the ways of implementation and subsequent costs, as well as prioritize public actions that are likely to reduce poverty and should follow a path of pro-poor growth that ensures social inclusion and equity and improves governance and public sector management.

Ethiopia has been implementing a series of pro-poor Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) taking into consideration these suggestions and possibilities proposed by international institutions since 1991. This was when the country began its broad spectrum of reform measures by simultaneously addressing the immediate need of economic recovery and reconstruction and the long-term structural problems of underdevelopment. As a result, the last two decades have witnessed a tremendous growth in infrastructure development in Ethiopia. The adoption of the new constitution formed the basis for rapid and sustainable socio-economic growth, coupled with environmental protection, and it also addressed poverty reduction. National preparations and activities have been undertaken through an institutional framework guided by a National Steering Group in consultations with relevant partners, such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and different INGOs and NGOs. The country finalized a National Conservation Strategy (CSE) and adopted a Population Policy in 1993. This was followed by the adoption of a Program of Action in 1994, the same year in which an Environment Protection Authority was established. A full Environment Policy was devised in 1997 with the objective, among other things, to ensure that population, environmental and poverty eradication factors were integrated into sustainable development policies and programs. Subsequently, a series of medium to long-term plans and focused policies and strategies have been implemented. These include the Agriculture Development-Led Industrialization (ADLI) Strategy and various Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers of which the first was the Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program (SDPRP) covering 2002/03-2004/05. This was followed by the Plan for Accelerated and Sustainable Development to End Poverty (PASDEP), implemented between the years 2005/6 - 2009/10. A Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy (CRGE), projecting a reduction in agriculture from 42% to 29%, was also developed in 2011.

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