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FEATURE STORY

Cote d'Ivoire Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP)

September 1, 2011

Background on Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP)

Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) describe a country's macroeconomic, structural, and social policies and programs to promote growth and reduce poverty, as well as associated external financing needs. PRSPs are prepared by governments through a participatory process that involves civil society and development partners, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers provide the basis for World Bank and IMF assistance as well as debt relief under the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) Initiative. PRSPs should be country-driven, comprehensive, partnership-oriented, and participatory. A country only needs to write a PRSP every three years; however, changes can be made to the content of a PRSP using an Annual Progress Report. Refer to the World Bank Povertynet website for more information.

Strategy for Relaunching Development and Reducing Poverty - Côte d'Ivoire's PRSP, January 2009

In 2008, the government prepared a Strategy for Re-launching Development and Reducing Poverty, Côte d’Ivoire’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Extensive consultations were held between March 17 and April 30, 2008 across the country. Eleven regional consultation committees were created, each incorporating local government officials, religious and traditional leaders, associations of women and youth, civil society, security forces, farmers, private sector operators, and development partners. The final strategy was validated in a national workshop on January 5, 2009 and approved by the Cabinet in February 2009. From June through September 2009, the Ministry of Planning and Cooperation organized additional sector-specific workshops to prepare priority action plans for the implementation of the PRSP.

The PRSP covers the seven-year period from 2009-2015, with a mid-term review planned in 2013. It calls for an ambitious program to consolidate peace and transform Côte d’Ivoire into an emerging economy in which poverty falls from the current 49 percent to 33 percent by 2013 and to 16 percent by 2015, supported by average annual GDP growth of approximately 6 percent.

Strategic Outcome 1: Reestablishing the Foundations of the Republic

Consolidating peace and security and promoting good governance are prerequisites for economic recovery and poverty reduction, according to Côte d’Ivoire’s PRSP. This will require the full resolution of the crisis through the implementation of the Ouagadougou Political Accord, notably with the disarmament of ex-combatants and militias and their economic reintegration; the creation of a new, unified army; the restoration of the government’s control of the entire territory; and holding of free and fair presidential elections. The PRSP also calls for actions to improve security services by strengthening the police.

To promote good governance, the PRSP calls for actions to modernize public administration. This includes implementing the decentralization agenda and improving the management and capacity of public human resources; and upgrading the quality of public services, including through the use of administrative controls and audits and by implementing public communications to better inform the citizenry of government decisions and actions. Efforts will also aim at strengthening justice services for citizens and ensuring the independence and professionalism of the judiciary, as well as an adequate penal system and prison conditions. Improved economic governance will be pursued through actions to better manage public resources, to increase transparency and accountability in how resources are used, and strengthen transparency and management of key economic sectors.

Strategic Outcome 2: Transforming Côte d’Ivoire into an Emerging Economy

Maintaining a stable macroeconomic framework. The PRSP envisages a program of economic stabilization targeting an average growth rate of 5.8 percent over the period 2009-2013. The program will consist of improved fiscal policies; deep structural reforms in the cocoa/coffee, energy and oil sectors; and improvements in transparency and governance, which are expected to strengthen investor confidence. Given the large post-crisis reconstruction needs, the PRSP projects increasing public investments by 24 percent and strengthening the poverty focus of these investments while also attracting private investments to growth sectors. Fiscal revenues (excluding grants) are estimated to increase to 21 percent of GDP, relying mainly on oil and gas production and improvements in tax administration. The government will also pursue public financial management and procurement reforms to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in the use of public resources.

Investing in economic infrastructure as a prerequisite for growth. The PRSP focuses on the transport sector as the most critical sector to address before all others, given its fundamental importance to economic activities and regional integration. In the road sector, Government’s ambition is to build 2,988 km and rehabilitate 1,625 km of paved roads; construct 24 bridges, and ensure the regular maintenance of 14,300 km of unpaved roads. For maritime transport, priority projects are to extend the Abidjan Port Infrastructure to Ile Boulay, rehabilitate and extend San Pedro port; and improve the navigation on the lagoon in Abidjan. Improvements to railway and airport infrastructure are also planned.

Creating more jobs and wealth through the private sector and agriculture. The PRSP recognizes the need for government to help create a more enabling environment for the private sector, the main source of employment and driver of growth, including through reforms to improve governance of the sector, access to credit and micro-finance, diversification and trade promotion.

In the agriculture sector, the PRSP seeks to diversify and transform commodities locally to increase the value added. In addition, the Government will support efforts to raise productivity with a view to reducing malnutrition and achieving food security, improving incomes and boosting trade and competitiveness. Here the PRSP emphasizes cocoa-coffee, cotton and cashews. Cotton and cashews are grown primarily in the northern regions of the country and investing in these commodities would help to address high levels of poverty in those regions and diminish geographic inequities.

Other important sectors to diversify the economic base are the information and telecommunications and hydrocarbon sectors, the former being an important source of employment and the latter promises to deliver revenues that will enable government to make adequate levels of public investments.

Creating employment opportunities and strengthening the labor market. The Government is particularly concerned about high unemployment rates and will work with private sector partners to promote income-generating activities, self-employment, create incentives for labor-intensive employment opportunities, and strengthen professional and vocational educational opportunities.

Strategic Outcome 3: Social Well-Being For All

Improving access to and quality of education and health services. The civil war and crisis set back Côte d’Ivoire’s education and health services significantly, and the PRSP recognizes the need to invest in these sectors to begin reversing the trend of declining quality and stagnating outcomes. The key issues in education are to make progress toward the MDG of universal access to education and 100 percent primary completion. Côte d’Ivoire’s National Health Development Plan (PNDS 2009-2013), which provides the sector’s strategy for the PRSP, seeks to: (i) improve the management and administration of the health system; (ii) improve the quality of health services and (iii) promote healthy behaviors.

Improving access to basic infrastructure. The PRSP recognizes the large unmet needs of the population in terms of access to potable water, adequate sanitation services, energy and a livable urban and rural environment. For rural electrification, the ambition of the PRSP is to extend electricity services to 200 to 300 villages per year to reach 43 percent of the population across the country by 2015. This will also contribute to the global objective of connecting 35 percent of households to the power network by 2013 and promoting economic activities to reduce poverty in rural areas. The strategic priorities for improving water services are to (i) expand the national rural water and sanitation program; (ii) establish a specific budget for this program; (iii) develop a national standard for community-run water systems and a tariff system that promotes access for all; and (iv) rehabilitate damaged urban water systems in selected cities. A second priority is to improve rural water and basic sanitation, and a third goal is to improve urban water supply for secondary cities.

Strengthening social protection and preserving the environment. Government seeks to extend social protection to the entire population with a specific focus on vulnerable populations including: treatment and support for the elderly; protection of child victims of trafficking and exploitation; reintegration of internally displaced populations through employment in reconstruction efforts; and pursuing legal and regulatory reforms to uphold the rights of women. On the environment, the objective is to increase the proportion of protected areas from 10 percent in 2008 to 20 percent by 2015. The PRSP also focuses on mainstreaming forestry into rural development and improving governance and protection of water, forest, livestock and fishery resources.

Strategic Outcome 4: Côte d’Ivoire is a Dynamic Actor on the Regional and International Scene

Regional and international integration. The objective is to restore regional ties and cooperation with the international community first by consolidating peace and national stability; by adhering to WAEMU convergence criteria, including maintaining inflation at 3 percent or lower; by improving exports and investing in regional infrastructure; and by normalizing financial relations with external partners.