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|DJIBOUTI To Meet Donors Over Poverty-Reduction Strategy|
DJIBOUTI, 16 Jun 2004 (IRIN) - The Djiboutian government is preparing to invite donors to a meeting to discuss its poverty-reduction strategy, which is estimated to cost US $500,000, Economy, Finance, and Planning Minister Yacin Elmi Bouh said.
"We have made a vision for how we can fight, how we can reduce poverty in our country," Yacin Elmi told IRIN in the capital, Djibouti, on Wednesday. "We know that we cannot provide all this money ourselves, so we are asking for help from the international community."
Djibouti's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) was approved by the World Bank and the IMF at the beginning of June.
According to the PRSP, poverty in Djibouti has been increasing for the past 20 years due to drought combined with conflicts within the Horn of Africa region. It notes that reducing poverty in the country was likely to prove challenging given the arid climate and rocky soil that made agriculture difficult. Moreover, Djibouti has no significant natural resources, apart from large salt deposits.
The paper also notes that whereas Djibouti has made progress in education, its low literacy of 27.3 percent "places Djibouti among the African countries least endowed with human capital".
Compared to other countries in the Horn of Africa, however, Djibouti with a per capita income of $850, could be a little better off. But the US State Department notes that "the part of the annual gross domestic product not generated by and for the foreign community was estimated at no more than $250 per capita annually".
In the absence of significant natural resources, Djibouti's key resource is its highly strategic location by the Bab al-Mandab Straits where the Gulf of Aden meets the Red Sea. It is presently developing itself as a key transport hub in the region. The economy has also received a boost from the presence of French and US troops.
"In the long term," the PRSP states, "the country should see results from the following: the construction of new port infrastructure (a container port, a petroleum terminal, and free trade zones); human resources development; the construction of infrastructure; and the impact of reforms aimed at stimulating private investment."
In 1999, the World Bank and IMF decided that poverty-reduction strategies should provide the basis for all World Bank and IMF concessional lending. The two institutions say the poverty-reduction strategies are intended to be country-driven, results-oriented, comprehensive and multi-dimensional, participatory and long-term. They may also provide a useful basis for development coordination.