Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs) are the new buzzwords in development aid. Some 70 countries have already elaborated them in response to World Bank and bilateral aid agency requirements. This book presents detailed, field-level research on the application of PRSs in three countries: Tanzania, Vietnam and Honduras It describes the changing relations between the governments of these countries, donor agencies, and civic organizations that have taken part in formulating the new generation of PRSs. Poverty Reduction Strategies run up against a central paradox: in giving decisive policymaking powers to external agencies, the very process of drawing up development strategies to prioritise reducing poverty can gravely undermine the consolidation of democratic forces, structures and ideas in developing countries.
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Jeremy Gould is an architect and emeritus professor of architecture at Plymouth University. He is the author of Plymouth: Vision of a Modern City.Review:
'The great value of this book comes from seeing aid as profoundly political, that is, the new poverty reduction consensus is not dismissed as pure rhetoric, nor endorsed as an unquestionable good, but instead analysed in terms of its actual impact and reconfiguration of domestic political arenas. Most revealingly perhaps, the book shows how partnerships can undermine democratic accountability, promoting a distinctively technocratic approach to development. For anyone seeking to understand the contemporary aid relationship, this is both crucial and exciting reading.' - Rita Abrahamsen, author of Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and Good Governance in Africa
'A fascinating ground-level exploration of the current development mantras 'civil society participation' and 'country ownership'. The case studies pull no punches in arguing that international institutions, including some international NGOs, have entrenched their places at the policy-making table and helped marginalise independent national civil society formations and indigenous institutions. The analysis shows the dangers of a new generation of one size fits all thinking, but also the importance of national political circumstances in determining outcomes.' - Alex Wilks,
Coordinator, European Network on Debt and Development
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