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Sector Wide Programmes and Poverty Reduction

Working papers

The current study is based on a fairly ‘quick and dirty’ review of material on a range of sector programmes selected by the availability of material to the authors. In view of the necessary limitations of the approach, the conclusions we seek to draw are mainly limited to presenting information on how the current generation of SWAps is addressing poverty concerns, and some necessarily tentative judgements on effectiveness.

Improving the access to services by poor and marginal groups was a strong or central objective of most of the sector programmes we have reviewed. The main exceptions have been in the agricultural sector, where growth objectives have been equally or more important, and the specific case of the education sector in South Africa, where poverty objectives were in competition with investment in higher level skills to support economic growth and increased black participation in the economy. As one might expect, poverty issues are more satisfactorily addressed in those SWAps where benefiting the poor is stated as a central objective, and has political endorsement.

Mick Foster and Sadie Mackintosh-Walker