Coordinating National Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and the Millennium Development Goals
A Case Study on the 'Absorption' of MDG 2 and MDG 5 in Ethiopia's Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategies
Term Paper 2012 12 Pages
Table of Content
2.1 Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
2.2 Development background: Ethiopia
2.3 MDGs and PRSPs in Ethiopia
3 'Absorption' of MDGs in Ethiopia's PRSPs (2000-2015)
3.1 Case study I: MDG 2 and educational policies in Ethiopia
3.2 Case study II: MDG 5 and health policies in Ethiopia
3.3 Possible explanations for different levels of MDG absorption into Ethiopia's PRSPs
4 Outlook of PRSPs in terms of the post-2015 Agenda
Poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs) are claimed to be the 'crucial link' between the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on the global level and poverty reduction and growth strategies on the nation level as PRSPs incorporate more and more MDG goals and indicators. Ethiopia, a low-income country in Sub-Saharan Africa, is used as a case study as it has not only made significant advancements in terms of achieving the MDG goals since 2000 but has also made extensive use of PRSPs. Ethiopia has already issued its third generation of PRSPs (2002; 2006; 20011), including an interim PRSP in 2000. The essay analyzes how well MDG 2 'Primary Universal Education' and MDG
5 'Maternal Health' have been absorbed into Ethiopia's PRSPs. Findings confirm that PRSPs are a crucial means to implement MDGs within national policies and programs. Moreover, the study hints to how different processes of MDG incorporation into PRSPs influence the achievement of the respective MDGs on the national level. PRSPs have to be given considerable importance in the post- 2015 agenda; however, a revision of PRSPs is urgently needed to compensate PRSP's criticism and its lack in adhering to some of its most crucial principles, which play a significant role in the post 2015- agenda.
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) are an initiative, launched in 1999 in a joint effort of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to encourage poverty reduction in low- income countries (LIC) through appropriate national policies: LICs are supposed to create "macro- economic, structural and social policies" to ensure growth and reduction of poverty; in turn, the IMF and the World Bank provide access to concessional loans, debt relief and multilateral development assistance (World Bank, 2013a). Since then, PRSPs have become a widely used policy tool by LICs: until today, 67 countries have prepared PRSPs, 37 issued the second generation of PRSPs and 5 have already published their third PRSP (World Bank, 2012). Nevertheless, several scholars criticize the effectiveness of PRSPs. Among the most important negative points are the missing link between PRSPs and the long-term problem of inequality; a lack of institutions and governments to implement PRSPs; the contradiction of ownership of the PRSPs on the one hand but conditionality imposed by the IMF and the World Bank on the other hand (Adejumobi, 2006; Oxfam, 2004; Fraser, 2005).
Despite this critique, PRSPs are regarded as the main tool for achieving the global agenda of poverty reduction, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), on the national level. Both, MDGs and PRSPs, aim at poverty reduction through clearly defined targets and put a strong focus on country ownership. Moreover, both are led by the same organizations, i.e. the World Bank and the IMF (Eggen, 2008: 1-4). According to Eggen (2008), the MDGs present a set of internationally agreed development priorities, while PRSPs are an "approach to formulating [development] policies" on the national level (2). The IMF makes the relation between MDGs and PRSPs even clearer by describing the PRSPs as "the crucial link (...) to meet the MDGs" (IMF, 2013a). Scholars, such as Kalinda (2008), consider PRSPs as "the country-level operational framework for progress towards the (...) MDGs" (1). According to research of Bucki et al. (2013), Hulme & Fukudu-Parr (2009) and Picard (2010), the MDGs are gradually incorporated into PRSPs, however, to a different extent depending on the country context.
Using Ethiopia as a case study, the essays provides a comparative analysis on the absorption of the MDGs in Ethiopia's PRSPs by focusing on MDG 2 'Primary Universal Education' and MDG 5 'Maternal Health'. Firstly, the essay provides relevant background information on PRSPs in general, on the development context of Ethiopia as well as on the relation between MDGs and PRSPs in Ethiopia. In its main part, the paper analyzes how MDG 2 and MDG 5 have been incorporated into Ethiopia's PRSPs by focusing on the adoption of the respective MDG targets and indicators in PRSPs since 2000. The study shows that both MDGs have been successfully included in Ethiopia's PRSPs; however, their process of absorption was different. Trying to provide an explanation for this, the essay refers back to the comprehensive-principle of PRSPs as national governments, domestic and external development partners have distinct priorities. The impact of these different processes of absorption is visible in the current status of achieving MDG 2 and MDG 5. Based on the analysis, the essay concludes by giving an outlook on PRSP's role in the post-2015 agenda: as national poverty reduction and growth strategies they might hinder to successfully absorb and tackle crosscutting poverty issues which, in turn, challenges PRSP's future role in the post-2015 agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
2.1 Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
As aforementioned, PRSPs are a controversial but highly used policy tool by LICs to receive concessional loans and aid from multilateral donors, i.e. the IMF and the World Bank. PRSPs underlie the following set of principles: country-ownership, result-oriented, comprehensive, partnershiporiented, long-term perspective. Hence, through PRSPs, countries take responsibility for their own problems and development by defining clear means of measurement to track the results. Moreover, PRSPs are supposed to tackle all dimension of poverty and are compiled in cooperation with all stakeholders, i.e. domestic groups, government, donors, development partners, and are designed for three years or more. PRSPs usually consist of an analysis of the country's current poverty situation, a description of national policies and programs aimed to execute to reduce poverty and an overview of financial needs and funding sources (IMF, 2013a; 2013b).
2.2 Development background: Ethiopia
Ethiopia, a developing, low-income country in the Sub-Saharan region has the second highest population in Africa and is economically highly dependent on the service sector and agriculture, with coffee being its main product of export (CIA Factsheet, 2013). Recurring droughts and consequences of climate change are highly impacting the population as well as poverty rates. According to World Bank (2013a) data of 2011, 30.7% live in extreme poverty and the Gini Index is 33.6. However, rural poverty, which is at 80%, is the government's main challenge.
In terms of the MDGs, Africa is largely lacking behind in reaching the MDGs, however the continent has made major advancements since 2000, especially due to economic growth (UNDP, 2013: 6). Ethiopia has played a key role in this regard, as it is among the top performing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with the best improvements for target 1B, Indicator 3.2 and target 7C (Provost, 2013; UNDP, 2013). Also, the 2010 MDG Report and MDG Track (2010) show that Ethiopia is doing better than the rest of its region: it has already or will achieve the majority of MDG indicators of MDG1, 2, 6 and 8 by 2015 or latest 2020. At the same time, as of 2010, Ethiopia is struggling with the rest of the MDGs, especially with crosscutting poverty issues such as gender equality, infant mortality, maternal health and environmental sustainability (achievement forecasted after 2025). However, the MDG Report 2013 on Africa as well as the MDG Progress Index (Provost, 2013) indicate that Ethiopia's progress on these MDGs has highly advanced and, contrary to observations of 2010, some of these might be achieved by 2015.
In terms of PRSPs, the African region has by far been most active in issuing and adhering to PRSPs: 34 of 67 PRSPs are from the African region (World Bank, 2012). With Ethiopia having published its third generation of PRPs in 2011, this country makes an interesting case study as it combines major achievements in MDGs with great efforts in terms of PRSPs. Also, the changes in forecast from 2010 to 2013 might be explained by a closer look at the most recent PRSP (2010/11-2014/5).
2.3 MDGs and PRSPs in Ethiopia
Since the 1990s Ethiopia was concerned with poverty reduction, economic growth and human development. Its main tool to tackle these was through Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). However, when the IMF/World Bank launched PRSPs, Ethiopia immediately issued an interim PRPS in 2000 which was ousted by the first full PRSP, called 'Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program' (SDPRP), in 2002. Here, Ethiopia's main focus was on an economic growth of 7% in order to reduce poverty. In 2005, a second PRSP was published, the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP), laying out a clear poverty reduction strategy until 2010. The third generation of Ethiopia's PRSP focused on another 5-year-period and was issued in 2011: the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) 2010/11-2014/15 (IMF, 2013b; Afrodad, 2006: 7-9; MoFED, 2010: 1-2; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2013).
The MDGs were officially incorporated into Ethiopia's development policies after the 2005 MDG Needs Assessment by the Ethiopian government and other development stakeholders (MoFED, 2006: 2; MoFED, 2000; MoFED, 2002). Nevertheless, the SDPRP already focused on reduction of poverty and hunger, primary education as well as reducing HIV/Aids transmission; it used several MDG indicators to track progress and, thereby, already showed strong relations to the MDGs (Afrodad, 2010: 13-14; MoFED, 2002). The second generation of Ethiopian PRSP, the PASDEP, emphasized to continue with the priorities set out in the SDPRP and added a focus on growth of the private sector and agriculture. Most importantly, the PASDEP entails "scaling up efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals" and is, thereby, "harmonizing (...) [Ethiopian's] PRSP and the MDGs" (Afrodad, 2010: 14): for the first time, targets of Ethiopia's PRSP are directly and clearly linked with the relevant MDG goal and the respective MDG indicators (or similar indicators established) (MoFED, 2006: 248-250). Nevertheless, several weaknesses in fully incorporating the MDGs in Ethiopia's PRSPs become already apparent in these early stages: so-called 'cross-cutting issues' are not properly represented in the PASDEP, especially gender equality, environment and global partnerships for development (Afrodad, 2010: 16; MoFED, 2006). The most current PRSP, the GTP, which outlines Ethiopia's poverty reduction strategy until 2015, the same year as the end of the MDGs, puts increased emphasis not only on economic growth (through increased productivity in the agricultural and industry sector) but also on social development (through improving education and health services, especially maternal mortality). In an extremely clearly and detailed way, the GTP relates its defined strategy to the MDGs, outlining exactly which GTP goal refers to which MDG