European Development Cooperation and the Poor

European Development Cooperation and the Poor

European Development Cooperation and the Poor

European Development Cooperation and the Poor

Synopsis

What are the poverty reduction goals of the European development cooperation agencies? This book examines the credibility of their actual record in terms of their commitment and approaches to poverty reduction. The poverty impact of their aid programs and their good and bad practices are assessed based on field studies in seven poor countries. New thinking on how to maximize benefits to poor people is explored and changes in agency management systems and dialogue are recommended.

Excerpt

This book begins with the challenge posed by poverty in the Third World. Its main purpose, however, is to assess what ten European development cooperation agencies have been trying to do about poverty in the 1990s.

The effectiveness of these external agencies in reducing poverty depends crucially on the poverty context in the countries where they operate, and especially the degree of commitment of the domestic authorities to their poorest people and their capacity to implement policies and measures to help them. It also depends on the commitment of the European agencies, the effectiveness of their management systems and how they interrelate with their partners.

The book therefore begins with a brief account of the context of poverty in seven poor countries and the opportunities and constraints on the role of external agencies in promoting reduction in the degree of poverty. It then has the following sequence. First, it sets out and compares the explicit goals and aims of the European agencies, the trends in their commitment to poverty reduction in the 1990s and the present degree of consensus on these issues. Next, it examines the role that the agencies can play in relation to these aims and their general record in practice. It then explores strategies to address the problems of poor people in the agencies' country programmes, drawing on field studies in seven poor countries where several European agencies operate: Bolivia, Burkina Faso, India, Nepal, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This encompasses the poverty orientation of their spending portfolios and the record of their dialogue with their partners on poverty issues. To obtain a picture of effectiveness and impact on the poor of the agencies' specific interventions, 90 poverty-oriented projects and programmes in these seven countries were reviewed. Conclusions are drawn about the effectiveness of these interventions in relation to the participation of the poor in their identification, design and implementation, their degree of gender sensitivity, their targeting on poor people and, of course, their impact and likely sustainability. Lessons of good and bad practice are extracted from individual case studies.

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