This paper contains the key findings of a desk study commissioned by the Poverty Monitoring Task Team of the Strategic Partnership with Africa (SPA). The study was undertaken in two phases, the results of which are reported in the two Parts of the paper. Phase 1 was a critical review of PRSP documentation for sub-Saharan Africa, including four full PRSPs, 17 Interim PRSPs (iPRSPs) and 19 Joint Staff Assessments (JSAs). Phase 2 involved a wide-ranging search for experiences and examples that might be drawn on in improving the way PRSPs handle monitoring and indicators.
The study made two initial assumptions:
• PRSP monitoring calls for fresh thinking, not ‘business as usual’. It needs to be geared to what is new and challenging about the PRSP initiative – particularly the effort to engage a wider range of stakeholders in policy dialogue about poverty reduction at the national level. It also needs to be rooted in a realistic appreciation of the relevant policy processes and the possible uses of information in enforcing new kinds of accountability and learning about poverty reduction.
• The greater results-orientation that is a feature of the PRSP approach should not be taken to imply an exclusive interest in monitoring final results or impacts. On the contrary, it should mean giving appropriate attention to each of the following:
final poverty outcomes/impacts;
intermediate outputs, outcomes and implementation processes;
the delivery of the key inputs of poverty reduction strategies.