Poverty Watch: Making Transport Count in Poverty Reduction


Poverty Watch is an IFRTD initiated programme that enables civil society to monitor transport investments and to encourage pro-poor transport policies.To date Poverty Watch has built the capacity of stakeholders in developing countries to carry out analytical work on the links between transport and poverty and to implement this knowledge through policy advocacy or practical interventions.

Poverty Watch Key Principles:

  • The transport sector is so strategic to economic and social development that it requires increased public accountability and regular auditing of its impact on poverty reduction.
  • Prevailing economic and engineering models that guide decision making processes within the transport sector do not enable transport to deliver against broader development goals.
  • Although transport has no direct impact on poverty it does play an important role supporting economic growth, and specifically helps poor people to develop their physical assets and to accumulate human, social, and political capital.
  • It is rarely considered neccessary to subject transport sector policies and investment decisions to pro-poor analysis. This leads to economic and social differentiation and ultimately inequality and poverty.

Through the Poverty Watch programme IFRTD affiliated networks in countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America have reviewed:

  • The pro-poor agenda of national transport sector policies and ongoing transport investment programmes.
  • The inclusion of mobility and access issues within key national development policies, for example - PRSPS or National Development Plans.

This process enabled IFRTD affiliated networks to build a critical mass of interested stakeholders. The first step in the development of an informed civil society platform that is capable of debating the issues and identifying key priorities for a transport and poverty agenda in each country.

14 countries participated in the first phase of the Poverty Watch programme:

  • Africa - Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Senegal
  • Asia - Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal
  • Latin America - Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Perú.

In these countries programme participants carried out studies to explore where and how existing national transport policies and strategies have interfaced with national poverty reduction efforts. These country reviews alongside regional synthesis papers highlighting the key issues emerging from the review are available to download below.

The first phase of the Poverty Watch programme culminated in an international workshop in Nairobi Kenya, December 2005, to develop a Transport and Poverty Monitoring Framework. The workshop brought together a number of researchers from Africa, Asia and Latin America who had participated in the programme. The workshop report is available for download below


  • Regional Synthesis for Latin America by Julio C Sanchez Uzeda and Ana Bravo  (Word doc 316kb)
  • Regional Synthesis for East and Southern Africa by Kenneth Odero and Peter Njenga  (Word doc 236kb)
  • Regional Synthesis for West and Central Africa by Bamba Thioye  (Word Doc 46kb)

Country Reviews:

Poverty Watch publications:

  1. IFRTD Forum News, Volume 12 issue 4, Feb 2006 An in depth synthesis of the first phase of Poverty Watch including a presentation of the first draft of the Transport and Poverty Monitoring Framework. 
  2. Promoting Pro-poor transport policies and action in Sri lanka. By the Lanka Forum on Rural Transport Development (2005) Colombo, Sri Lanka. 
  3. Transpolicy. Pro-poor Transport Policy. Meeting the challenges in Zimbabwe. By Kenneth Odero, ZFRTD (feb 2005).



Contact Person: Peter Njenga
Position: Executive Director and Coordinator East and Southern Africa
Tel/Fax: +254 (20) 883323
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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