Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Poverty reduction: Policy Initiatives

Poverty reduction is one of the hottest debates, especially in the developing countries, but what is missed is lack of enough discussion of what we mean by it. Generally, poverty reduction is used as a short-hand for promoting economic growth that will permanently lift as many people as possible over a poverty line. At the same time, there are many objectives that are consistent with poverty reduction and the government has to make choices between them based on its economic strategic priorities.
There are different perspectives and approaches in terms of poverty reduction initiatives, for example, tackling current and future poverty,  helping as many poor people as possible and focusing on those in chronic poverty and the perspectives to tackle the causes of poverty and those that deal with symptoms of it.
Governments shall be mindful to consider all dimensions of poverty reduction in their poverty reduction policies and strategies. This is one of the main policy and strategy issue in developing countries, especially those which donors fund most of the budget of such policies and strategies; because they focus on just one dimension of poverty reduction (growth) and marginalize other legitimate objectives such as reducing chronic poverty or providing social services in countries that cannot otherwise afford them. It is one of the main issues in Afghanistan as a country that donors fund all its development projects, including the poverty reduction ones. Afghanistan has developed poverty reduction strategies including the ANDS, NPPs and etc. However, these strategies have not been much successful due to poverty reduction visions between the Afghan donors and the afghan government.
As the Afghan government does not have enough resources to fund its development projects, it shall peruse a strategic funding diplomacy to satisfy the international community in terms of transparency and accountability in the development projects. Because, aid can be more effective if there are greater recognition of the different dimensions of poverty reduction.
Initiatives to further the effectiveness of poverty reduction strategies
First, to strengthen the competitiveness of Afghanistan and to create conditions for strong and viable economic growth in the country through (1) policies and strategies focused on stabilization of the macroeconomic framework and structural reform, both in civil and security sectors; (2) strengthening the institutional framework conducive to investment and elimination of barriers to development of the private sector; (3) improvement of the Afghan markets as an economic and financial platform that is competitive at the regional level and fostering of the Afghanistan’s growth potentials; (4) development of infrastructures and the reduction of production factor costs.
Second, to expedite the optimal use of the Afghan human resources and urban rural development, and preserving the environment at the same time. The objective of this initiative can be: (1) to focus on quality in health and education; (2) to implement a policy to foster employment and vocational training; (3) to improve food security and promote access to clean water; (4) to use the National Strategy as an apparatus for integrating women into development.
Third, specifically design poverty reduction strategies to reduce poverty and to assist highly vulnerable individuals or persons with special needs through programs aimed at poverty areas and vulnerable members of the society. Furthermore, measures in this area will be made to combat unemployment by focusing on development of labor-intensive methods, promotion microfinance, and establishing of social safety nets for the most vulnerable segments of the population (street children, nomads, women who head families, internally displaced people).
Fourth, to improve political, economic, finance and local governance, in order to enhance the government’s planning and management capacities, and to modernize its instruments and resources.
Poverty reduction is one of the strategic approaches to eliminate chronic poverty. It is a framework that the government policies and strategies are centered on it. Based on studies, only those policies and strategies of poverty reduction have realized their objectives that have encompassed all dimensions of the poverty. Donors usually are not interested to focus on all dimensions of poverty and it is one of the main causes of poverty reduction policy and strategy failure where economic development policies and strategies are funded by donors, including Afghanistan. To ensure poverty reduction, Afghanistan needs a policy and strategy to encompass all dimensions of poverty and take a very well-tailored imitative ranging  from strengthen the competitiveness of Afghanistan to improving political, economic, finance and local governance in the country.