Last week, the World Bank reviewed and discussed a poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) drafted by the government of Yemen in extensive consultation with government agencies and with civil society. Amongst the civil society groups brought into the process were parliamentarians, academics, women’s groups, media as well as community-based groups representing the poor.
The first PRSP to be prepared in Yemen, the document presents the government’s strategy for poverty reduction during the period 2003-05. It identifies key development challenges facing the country based on a thorough assessment of poverty, and proposes a medium- and long-term framework for fighting poverty.
The PRSP reveals that poverty in Yemen is predominantly a rural phenomenon, with 83 percent of the poor and 87 percent of those under the food poverty line living in rural areas. It concludes that Yemen’s current public expenditures in sectors such as health and education do target the poor, but services fall short of addressing the magnitude of the urban-rural gap and the gender gaps.
In response to these challenges, the PRSP is designed around four major pillars aimed at raising the living standards of the poor. They include achieving a high and sustained rate of economic growth, enhancing human resources development, upgrading infrastructure and expanding access to basic services, and strengthening the social safety nets.
"The overall sense of the World Bank Board meeting was that the preparation of the PRSP by the Yemeni authorities and civil society marks the end of the beginning. Now the real process begins in putting the poverty reduction strategy into practice," said Mahmood Ayub, country director for Yemen, following the board meeting. "I am confident that the commitment and ownership demonstrated by the government of Yemen in this first phase will continue in the implementation phase." — (menareport.com)
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