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Rural Poverty Reduction Policies in Honduras, Nicaragua and Bolivia: Lessons from a Comparative Analysis

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Abstract

A common trait of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) in Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua is the relative lack of priority assigned to the rural sector despite the high incidence of poverty found there, as well as their inability to focus on the key determinants of rural poverty. The dynamics of the PRSP process and their impact on rural poverty are analysed. Although the factors accounting for the poor results attained by poverty reduction strategies vary between the countries discussed, a common factor is the limited capacity of the State to design and implement development strategies that are able to tackle the structural causes of poverty, and hence achieve substantial and sustainable reductions in poverty. This conclusion is reinforced by a comparative analysis with South Korea and Taiwan, which have succeeded in significantly reducing poverty through a growth with equity developmentalist strategy.

Les Documents de Stratégie de Réduction de la Pauvreté de la Bolivie, du Honduras et du Nicaragua ont en commun la relative absence de priorité donnée au secteur rural, malgré l′incidence élevée de pauvreté dans ce secteur, ainsi qu′une incapacité à se pencher sur les déterminants clés de la pauvreté rurale. Les dynamiques du processus des DSRP et leur impact sur la pauvreté rurale sont analysés. Si les facteurs expliquant les résultats médiocres obtenus par les stratégies de réduction de pauvreté varient en fonction des pays, un des facteurs communs à ces pays est la capacité limitée de l′État à concevoir et mettre en œuvre des stratégies de développement qui s′attaquent aux causes structurelles de la pauvreté, et ainsi de réaliser une réduction significative et durable de la pauvreté. Cette conclusion est renforcée par une analyse comparative avec la Corée du Sud et Taïwan qui ont su réduire significativement la pauvreté, grâce à une stratégie de développement basée sur le principe de «growth with equity» (la croissance par l′égalité).

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Notes

  1. For an analysis of the background, aims and outcome of the PRSPs in Bolivia, Nicaragua and Honduras, see the various reports published by the International Institute of Social Studies (www.iss.nl/prsp), as well as other contributions to this special issue of the journal.

  2. Rural poverty in Latin America is still persistently high despite falling from 65.4 per cent in 1990 to 54 per cent in 2006. Brazil and Chile experienced the steepest fall from 70.6 per cent to 50.1 per cent and from 38.8 per cent to 12.3 per cent, respectively (Graziano da Silva et al, 2009, p. 54). These significant reductions in rural poverty were achieved largely by extending the benefits of social security to the rural poor and by conditional cash transfer programmes such as the Bolsa Familiar in Brazil and Chile Solidario in Chile. Hence, the question arises about the sustainability of these reductions in rural poverty.

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Acknowledgements

I am grateful for the helpful comments received by Kristin Komives and Geske Dijkstra and for the detailed and useful comments made by three anonymous referees. I am especially indebted to René Escoto, Orlando Lara and José Antonio Peres, who wrote the country cases on Nicaragua, Honduras and Bolivia, respectively, for the comprehensive study on rural poverty and development, which I coordinated (Kay et al, 2008) and which I used for this article. However, none of the above is responsible for the views expressed in this article.

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Kay, C. Rural Poverty Reduction Policies in Honduras, Nicaragua and Bolivia: Lessons from a Comparative Analysis. Eur J Dev Res 23, 249–265 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1057/ejdr.2010.48

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