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The Great Experiment: Testing the PRSP Approach in Nicaragua, 2000–2007


  • João P C Guimarães

    (Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Néstor Avendaño

    (Consultores Para el Desarrollo Empresarial (COPADES), Managua)


Introduced in 1999, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) created hopes of a significant change in development cooperation and in the fight against poverty. Often, however, these hopes led to disappointment. In Nicaragua, despite the adoption of a PRSP in 2001 and conditions that seemed favourable to poverty reduction, poverty actually increased between 2001 and 2005. The article views implementation of the PRSP in Nicaragua as a policy experiment, reviews the main aspects of the PRSP process over the period 2000–2007, analyses the factors underlying the increase in poverty and draws lessons from the experiment, particularly concerning the real priorities of both the government and the donors. It concludes that it seems neither cynical nor particularly far-fetched to see the introduction of PRSPs largely as an elaborate public relations exercise designed to keep in place the essentials of structural adjustment at a time when they were coming under increasingly strong criticism.Introduits en 1999, les DSRPs ont engendré des espoirs de changements significatifs dans la coopération pour le développement et dans la lutte contre la pauvreté. Souvent, cependant, ces espoirs ont été déçus. Au Nicaragua, malgré l′adoption en 2001 d′un DSRP et des conditions qui semblaient propices à une réduction de la pauvreté, cette dernière s′est en fait accrue entre 2001 et 2005. Cet article envisage la mise en œuvre du DSRP au Nicaragua comme un essai de politique passe en revue les principaux aspects du processus de DSRP pendant la période 2000–2007, analyse les facteurs sous-tendant la montée de la pauvreté, et tire des leçons de cet exercice, notamment en ce qui concerne les priorités réelles du gouvernement ainsi que des donateurs. Nous concluons qu′il ne semble ni excessif de considérer l′introduction des DSRPs comme étant, en grande partie, un exercice élaboré de relations publiques conçu pour maintenir l′essentiel de la réforme structurelle, à un moment où cette dernière suscitait des critiques grandissantes.

Suggested Citation

  • João P C Guimarães & Néstor Avendaño, 2011. "The Great Experiment: Testing the PRSP Approach in Nicaragua, 2000–2007," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 23(2), pages 319-336, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:23:y:2011:i:2:p:319-336

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