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PRSP Institutionalisation Study: Final Report. Chapter 2: Institutionalising the PRSP Approach in Benin

Research report

Research report

The present report investigates the extent to which poverty reduction policies, programmes, practices and monitoring systems are being institutionalised in Benin.

The study concludes that it would be realistic not to expect too much too fast from the PRSP approach, in view of the magnitude of the task ahead; that the success of the approach depends at least as much on changes in donor behaviour as on changes in government practices; that the approach needs to be matched by other reforms, notably decentralisation, civil service reform and the eradication of corruption; that the fundamental change in policy objectives and political practices which the approach aims at cannot be the result of outside pressure alone, but must be carried through first of all by networks of local reform agents; that the process is currently too complex for complete national ownership, requiring it to be assisted by considerable amounts of financial support and technical assistance; that the participative exercises undertaken so far have produced results of only limited usefulness.

Also, that the justified need for popular participation should be freed from an ideological fixation on a “Civil Society” that has hardly developed in Benin; that Parliament should be more closely involved; that meaningful participation needs to be based on free circulation of information, implying a greater willingness of GoB to share information with other stakeholders; that the media should play a more important role in the discussion of policy choices, for which they are currently badly equipped; that local committees need to play an important part in bottom-up monitoring of implementation; and that there should be positive second round effects of the PRSP approach provided that GoB has a clear vision of priorities, the interlocking of reforms and a realistic but firm timeframe.  

Thomas Bierschenk, Elisabeth Thioléron, Nassirou Bako-Arifari