Using Knowledge to Improve Development Effectiveness: An Evaluation of World Bank Economic and Sector Work and Technical Assistance, 2000-06
Economic and sector work (ESW) and nonlending technical assistance (TA) are two of the analytical and advisory services (AAA) through which the Bank provides knowledge support to its client countries. The objectives of ESW are to inform lending, inform government policy, build client capacity,... Full Description »
Economic and sector work (ESW) and nonlending technical assistance (TA) are two of the analytical and advisory services (AAA) through which the Bank provides knowledge support to its client countries. The objectives of ESW are to inform lending, inform government policy, build client capacity, stimulate public debate, and influence the development community. The objectives of TA are to assist in policy implementation, strengthen institutions, and facilitate knowledge exchange. ESW and TA are an essential part of the Bank?s engagement with its clients?it spent $910 million (or 26 percent of its spending on country services) on these products during FY00-06. The majority of ESW and TA met their objectives at least to an average extent during FY00-06, although there were substantial differences across countries and tasks. ESW and TA of higher technical quality were clearly more effective in meeting their objectives. Close collaboration with clients from task initiation through the formulation of recommendations was important for ESW and TA to be effective, whether clients were involved in the production of the task or not. Sustained follow-up after the completion of the tasks was important for effectiveness. Whether clients requested the tasks did not matter for effectiveness, although all tasks needed to be tailored to client needs and interests to be effective. ESW and TA were less effective in countries where government capacity was lower. Clients in middle-income countries prefer nonlending to lending services, and clients in all countries prefer TA over ESW. IEG has five recommendations for Bank action to obtain better results from ESW and TA. First, reinvigorate the mandate (which underpinned the ESW reforms in FY99) to maintain a strong knowledge base on countries and sectors where the Bank is providing or planning to provide funds. Second, ensure ESW in IDA countries are adequately-resourced (even if it means fewer ESW), since cost matters for quality, and quality matters for effectiveness. Third, enhance institutional arrangements for ESW and TA by ensuring substantive task team presence in country offices?particularly in countries with low institutional capacity?to facilitate closer client collaboration. Fourth, recognize, receive, and build on client feedback to counter-balance current Bank incentives for lending over nonlending and ESW over TA. Fifth, take the results tracking framework for ESW and TA more seriously, including systematizing client feedback.
Content Type : Reports
September 1, 2008