What evidence is there of the performance or impact of regional development programmes in reducing poverty at the national level? What aid delivery channels have been most effective in this regard?
Regional programmes are widely seen as having the potential to support development and poverty reduction. Yet many authors note that achieving success in such programmes is typically complex. So far, regional approaches have only taken up a very small portion of development funds – less than 3 per cent in 2007. This report looks into the actual performance, and possibly impact, of regional development programmes on poverty reduction and associated factors such as ‘good governance’. The evidence base presents some strengths, such as the availability of diverse and rigorous evaluations, but also significant difficulties, most notably the lack of clear data on impact, the weak connection to poverty reduction, and the frequent lack of group-specific information (e.g. on gender). Crucially, effects on poverty cannot be attributed to regional programmes only, due to the large complex of variables that shape impact.
Combaz, E. Regional development programmes and poverty reduction (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1023). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 14 pp.