Growth and Poverty Focus of the PRSPs in HIPC Countries: The Case of Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia

Type Working Paper
Title Growth and Poverty Focus of the PRSPs in HIPC Countries: The Case of Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
This paper reviews how the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSPs) in Tanzania Uganda
and Zambia addressed economic growth and redistribution in their poverty reduction strategies.
The PRSPs in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia recognized the need to reduce income poverty
through accelerated and equitable growth. The PRSPs identified income poverty as a major
constraint to social welfare and they recognized that in order for growth to translate into poverty
reduction, it had to be broad-based and contribute to a reduction in the high levels of inequality
that characterized the three countries. The PRSPs acknowledged that the high levels of
poverty and inequality could not be brought solely by the trickle down effects from growth. The
PRSPs in all the three countries identified several economic sectors but agriculture was
accorded high priority because it is the sector in which the poor are concentrated and thus the
main source of their livelihood. Besides agriculture, increased investments in the social sectors,
particularly health and education, were also seen as equally important in poverty reduction.
Social sector investments were seen as key in producing the necessary human capital to
generate the much need economic growth, alongside mitigation of the effect of HIV and AIDS
which had crippled households and economic production
An analysis of the trends in public expenditures under the PRSPs in Tanzania, Uganda and
Zambia generally indicates that less investment went to the productive sectors, particularly
agriculture. The low investment that went to the productive sectors, particularly agriculture,
where the majority of the poor derive their livelihood is a disturbing fact given that the
governments had identified agriculture as one of the priority sectors under the PRSPs. The
agriculture sector is the main contributor to economic growth and also offers employment
opportunities to the majority of the people who live in rural areas. The low prioritization of public
expenditure in the agriculture sector has probably contributed to poor performance and limited
progress in poverty reduction. Given the limited poverty reduction that has been achieved so
far, and the need to ensure widely shared growth, investment in sectors that create employment
and income opportunities for the poor and vulnerable groups, particularly agriculture, will have
to be increased. Agriculture must grow much faster if rural poverty reduction is to become a
reality in the three countries. Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia will need to make significant
changes and achieve much higher economic and agricultural growth over the next 5 to 10
years. Realigning public spending will be key to achieving those goals. More resources are
needed to support the agriculture sector. The successor strategies or second generation
PRSPs will hopefully address these concerns of realigning public expenditure.

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