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The World Bank and IMF have proposed the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) framework for all poor countries as a condition of receiving unconditional debt relief under the HIPC Initiative. The PRSPs will also be the key vehicle for the World Bank and IMF and other donors for various assistance packages, including loans. Like its predecessors, the PRSP framework promotes the ideas of ‘participation’ and ‘ownership’. This article argues that ownership of such a grand framework cannot possibly rest with the poor countries or their people if the whole idea is the product of World Bank and IMF think-tanks. It discusses participation in the development of Bangladesh’s PRSP and argues that neither participation nor ownership was the target in preparing a national poverty-reduction strategy: they were merely necessary components of a document required for the continuation of debt and lending relationships with the World Bank and IMF.

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