Review of the 2004-2013 Guinea Country Assistance Strategy Completion Report (CASCR) and of the Interim Strategy Note Completion Report (ISNCR)
This review examines the implementation of the FY2004-FY2006 Guinea Country Assistance (CAS) of FY2003 and the FY2011-FY2012 Interim Strategy Note (ISN) of FY2011, and assesses the CAS and ISN Completion Report (CASCR). The CAS was prepared for IDA only, whereas the ISN was for IDA, IFC and MIGA.... Full Description »
This review examines the implementation of the FY2004-FY2006 Guinea Country Assistance (CAS) of FY2003 and the FY2011-FY2012 Interim Strategy Note (ISN) of FY2011, and assesses the CAS and ISN Completion Report (CASCR). The CAS was prepared for IDA only, whereas the ISN was for IDA, IFC and MIGA. This review covers, where possible, the activities of the three institutions, although the CASCR does not discuss IFC or MIGA programs.
The objectives set out in the CAS and the ISN covered many of the same areas. The overall objective of the CAS was to support the implementation of the three pillars of the 2002 Poverty Reduction Support Program (PRSP). This would be achieved through (i) fostering macroeconomic stability, establishing minimum infrastructure services for improving the investment climate, supporting policy reforms in fisheries, agriculture, mining and trade, and improving rural services under Pillar I; (ii) empowering urban and rural people, local governments, and their organizations, and strengthening service delivery in health, education, fight against HIV/AIDS, and water resource management under Pillar II; and (iii) supporting institutional transformation, strengthening downward accountability, and supporting monitoring and evaluation (M&E) under Pillar III. The ISN had as its overall goal to deliver timely and adequate support to the then newly elected government in its effort to bring about a tangible improvement of the living conditions of the population. To this end, the ISN proposed to help the Guinean government promote good governance, basic services and job creation. Social accountability and regional integration were identified as the cross-cutting themes.
The CASCR rates the overall outcome of World Bank Group (WBG) assistance as moderately unsatisfactory. Applying IEG standard desk-based review methodology in situations where partial information is presented, as it is the case here, would typically lead to a downgrade from the CASCR rating. However, the circumstances under which the CAS and the ISN were developed and implemented mean that IEG is unable to rate with any confidence. Available evidence suggests that some progress has been achieved in select areas, especially during the ISN period, but it is impossible to determine how far these achievements have met the CAS and/or ISN expectations. A field-based evaluation would be necessary to gather the information required for a reliable assessment.
For the same reasons as above, the standard IEG CASCR review methodology would call for a downgrade from the CASCR rating of moderately unsatisfactory for WBG performance. The overall CAS and ISN objectives were relevant to the country context and aligned with the PRSP priorities. The CAS engagement areas seemed overly wide, while the lack of clear articulation of the expected outcomes makes it difficult to assess whether the proposed interventions were appropriate for achieving the expected results. The ISN improved the focus of the assistance program. There was good consistency between the planned AAA and financing, and sufficient consideration of other development partners' programs. Key implementation risks were properly identified, although few mitigation measures were proposed. Indeed, the WBG did not appear to have a real strategy for dealing with fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS). There is no information on how the WBG responded when the risks materialized. The results frameworks in the strategy documents, especially the CAS, were weak, partial, and not utilized. Under the circumstances, it is difficult to assess the quality of the WBG's implementation support. There is no information on the quality and impact of the knowledge services, or on the WBG's efforts for improving coordination with other development partners. Adequate attention was paid to fiduciary issues in the strategies, but safeguard concerns were not mentioned. Synergy between the Bank, IFC and MIGA was envisioned in both the CAS and the ISN, but there is no information on how it worked in practice as the CASCR neglects to discuss IFC or MIGA activities.
IEG generally agrees with the lessons drawn in the CASCR, and underscores three additional points. First, for both accountability and learning purposes, it is important that country strategies and completion reports adhere to the WBG norms for setting and reporting on monitorable objectives. Second, given the gap between IEG ratings on completed projects and the much higher ISR ratings on projects under implementation, the Bank would need to pay careful attention to these projects in order to recognize the downside risks and provide necessary implementation support. Third, the experience with this country program highlights the importance of having a real strategy, underpinned by sound analyses of the political economy, in an FCS context.
Content Type : Reports , Doc Sub Category : CAS Completion Report Reviews , Country : Guinea
September 17, 2013