Case #1624.0

The Challenge of Participation: Drafting Mauritania's PRSP (B)

Publication Date: October 01, 2001
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In the late 1990s, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, under heavy pressure to find ways to relieve developing countries of large volumes of accumulated public debt, devise a way they believe offers a way to link such debt relief with their long-term goal of decreasing world poverty. Aid allowing for reduction in debt would be linked to the development of a so-called Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan (PRSP), a blueprint for how nations would use the financial resources freed by debt relief both to increase economic growth and to decrease the number of persons in poverty. This case focuses on the development of such a plan in the West African country of Mauritania, a predominantly desert nation twice the size of France with a population of just 2.6 million. Specifically, the case describes the challenges faced by the government team charged with development of the PRSP as it grapples with a mandate that the plan be developed through a process of thorough public participation. Only recently democratic, and with a long history of military rule and ethnic and racial conflict, Mauritania posed difficult challenges for those seeking to involve the public. Although a wave of non-government organizations had developed in the 1990s, not all were considered either representative or legitimate.

Learning Objective:
The case poses the question of how the PRSP should ensure and structure public participation both to assure the Mauritania public of the legitimacy of the process and to create a useful plan to improve life in the desperately poor nation.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Kitty Guckenberger
Faculty Lead:
Sanjeev Khagram
Pages (incl. exhibits):