Lise Rakner

Professor at University of Bergen and Affiliated Research Professor
In 2000 both Malawi and Zambia were pronounced as eligible for debt relief in terms of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative under the auspices of the Bretton Woods institutions, provided they formulated a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) that satisfied the new 'process' conditionality which emphasises broad participation. This project commissioned by Norad compares the participatory aspects of the policy-making process that led to the formulation of Malawi and Zambia's Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP)in 2002. The study concludes that in both Malawi and Zambia stakeholders (the state, non-state actors, and donors) have produced credible policy documents with a measure of 'national ownership'. It is significant that civil society organisations played an active role in both Malawi and Zambia in formulating the PRSP and thus lent the outcome some legitimacy. It is also significant that in both countries the national assemblies were marginalised in these policy-making exercises, which were driven by the respective executive branches of government, notably the Ministries of Finance. Edgar Bwalya (University of Zambia), Maxton Tsoka (University of Malawi), Lise Rakner, Arne Tostensen (Chr. Michelsen Institute), and Lars Svåsand (University of Bergen): Poverty Reduction Strategy Processes in Malawi and Zambia. Commissioned Report to Norad (December 2003).