Driving under the influence: Senegal’s PRSP process

Driving under the influence: Senegal’s PRSP process

Recommendations for a PRSP process rooted in local realities, Senegal

At the start of the new millennium, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) were introduced by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as as a condition for debt relief for the poorest countries. The process was supposed to be participative, responding to nationally identified priorities for poverty reduction. However, as this paper shows, the reality has been rather different.

The paper focuses on Senegal's experience of the PRSP process, showing that, due to lack of capacity-building, the Senegalese government tended to be responsive to the demands of the IFIs, with the result that social priorities and democratic participation were passed over. The paper outlines essential changes that need to take place if PRSPs are to be rooted in country ownership, rather than in the macroeconomic prescriptions of the international financial institutions.

Specific recommendations of the paper are:

  • support needs to be given to local governments, civil society organisations (CSOs) and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to expand their capacity to carry out and engage in PRSP initiatives
  • there needs to be multiple stakeholder dialogue on PRSPs and other dealings with the IFIs as standard practise
  • IFIs should ensure that their economic objectives are coherent with other poverty reduction goals
  • IFIs should grant immediate, faster and deeper debt relief to developing countries if they want developing countries to truly exit the poverty cycle.