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Report/Evaluation Type:Country-Focused Evaluations
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Romania CLR Review FY14-18

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This review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Report (CLR) covers the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated November 3, 2016. The original CPS period (FY14-17) was at the PLR stage extended by one year to cover FY14-18. The CLR and this review cover this extended period. Romania is an upper middle-income country with a GNI per Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Report (CLR) covers the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated November 3, 2016. The original CPS period (FY14-17) was at the PLR stage extended by one year to cover FY14-18. The CLR and this review cover this extended period. Romania is an upper middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $9,480 in 2016 and a population of 19.7 million. Romania’s per capita GDP had grown rapidly up to 2009, reducing poverty, but the global financial crisis of 2008 triggered a severe recession. The IMF Article IV report (May 2017) notes that Romania strengthened its economy considerably after the global financial crisis. Romania registered an average annual GDP growth of 3.9 percent during the review period (2014-2016). Public debt and fiscal and current account imbalances are moderate compared to many emerging markets, but significant challenges remain and the momentum of progress in policies has waned. Income convergence with the EU has slowed and poverty is among the highest in the EU. Romania has a Human Development Index (HDI) of .802 in 2015, placing the country in the very high human development category and ranking 50 (of 188) in HDI in 2015. Its Gini coefficient is 28.3 in 2016 (from around 35 in 2010) and its poverty headcount ratio based on the national poverty line is 25.4 percent (average 2014-2016).

Gambia CLR Review FY13-16

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This review of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the Second Joint Partnership Strategy (JPS-2), FY13-FY16, for the Gambia. The JPS-2 was a joint strategy of the WBG and the African Development Bank (AfDB).The Gambia is a small, fragile and landlocked country with a GNI per capita income of USD 430 in 2016.The JPS-2 had eight objectives organized around two Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the Second Joint Partnership Strategy (JPS-2), FY13-FY16, for the Gambia. The JPS-2 was a joint strategy of the WBG and the African Development Bank (AfDB).The Gambia is a small, fragile and landlocked country with a GNI per capita income of USD 430 in 2016.The JPS-2 had eight objectives organized around two pillars or focus areas: (i) enhancing productive capacity and competitiveness; (ii) strengthening the institutional capacity for economic governance and public service delivery. The JPS-2 was aligned with the government's medium term development plan as articulated in its Program for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) 2012-2016 and the government's long-term plan contained in Vision 2020.The JPS-2 focus areas and objectives were aligned with government's Medium Term Development Plan (PAGE), and its long-term strategy, Vision 2020. The joint strategy and clear division of labor with AfDB provided the foundation for WBG's selectivity. The WBG's program was generally selective in terms of focus areas, objectives and interventions. IEG concurs with some of the key lessons which are summarized as follows: (i) strong donor collaboration is critical but could also have high transactions costs; (ii) country capacity is an important consideration in data collection and quality, and in developing a results framework; and (iii) formal mid-course corrections through the PLR process is even more important in a difficult country circumstances. IEG adds the following lessons: i) Small and fragile countries could benefit from participation in regional integration operations by leveraging limited IDA financing and maximizing development impact. In the case of the Gambia, its participation in regional operations brought benefits to the country in terms of improved technology adoption in agriculture and increased connectivity. ii) To the extent possible, it is important that WBG interventions are aligned to the CPS objectives and their contributions reflected in the results framework. In the case of the Gambia, there were IFC interventions in several areas that were not reflected in the results framework.

Benin CLR Review FY13-18

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This review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Report (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) (FY13-17) and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) which extended the CPS period to include FY18. The PLR was discussed at the Board on August 30, 2016. Benin is a low-income country (per capita income of $820 in 2016). It has a population of about ten Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Report (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) (FY13-17) and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) which extended the CPS period to include FY18. The PLR was discussed at the Board on August 30, 2016. Benin is a low-income country (per capita income of $820 in 2016). It has a population of about ten million (2013 census) with a high population growth of around 2.8 percent per annum. The average GDP growth during the review period was 4.9 percent (2013-2016). The average per capita GDP growth rate was relatively low at 2.0 percent between 2013 and 2016, due to the high population growth and drop in the overall growth rate in 2015 as a result of an economic slowdown in neighboring Nigeria, political transition in 2015-2106, and decline in cotton prices. The economy is dominated by traditional agriculture, informal commerce and trade - areas with low levels of productivity. The country ranks 167 (out of 188) on the UNDP Human Development Index in 2015.

Guinea CLR Review FY14-17

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This Review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the original period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Guinea (FY14-FY17) and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) in FY16. Guinea is a low-income country with a GNI per capita of $670 in 2016 and with rich mining and water-based resources. Average annual GDP growth during the 2014-2016 Show MoreThis Review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the original period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Guinea (FY14-FY17) and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) in FY16. Guinea is a low-income country with a GNI per capita of $670 in 2016 and with rich mining and water-based resources. Average annual GDP growth during the 2014-2016 period (4.6 percent) was marginally lower than during the previous four-year period (4.9 percent). Average growth was sustained despite a slowdown resulting from two major shocks: the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in 2014, which reduced international travel, investments, domestic commerce and services; and the decline in aluminum prices, which reduced Guinea’s bauxite ore export prices and revenues. Despite positive per capita growth, social development made little progress. Poverty rates were 53.0 percent in 2007 and 55.2 percent in 2012, the last year of available poverty estimates. Guinea’s Human Development Index remained flat at 0.4 from 2012 to 2015 and placed the country in the low human development category and ranked 183 out of 188 countries in 2015. Rural social conditions are particularly dire, with rural poverty rates much higher (64.7 percent in 2012) than urban rates (35.4 percent).

Poland CLR Review FY14-17

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Poland is a high-income country (HIC) with a GNI per capita of $12,680 in 2016. Poland’s annual economic growth accelerated to 3.3 percent during the CPS period (2014-2016) from 2.9 percent over the previous four years, 2010-13. The consistency of the country’s macro and structural policies has been the key driver behind the economy’s growth and helped its transition to HIC status in less than 15 Show MorePoland is a high-income country (HIC) with a GNI per capita of $12,680 in 2016. Poland’s annual economic growth accelerated to 3.3 percent during the CPS period (2014-2016) from 2.9 percent over the previous four years, 2010-13. The consistency of the country’s macro and structural policies has been the key driver behind the economy’s growth and helped its transition to HIC status in less than 15 years. Poland’s economic growth has been inclusive in the past decade, as evidenced by growing employment and earnings for all income groups, which led to a substantial reduction in poverty and stronger-than-average growth of the bottom 40 percent of the distribution. Between 2005 and 2014, Poland’s Gini coefficient fell from 0.351 to 0.343. The poverty rate measured at $5.00/day 2005 PPP stood at 4.4 percent in 2015. Poland’s strong economic growth is expected to continue in the near term; however, the longer- term prospects could be subdued by demographic and structural challenges – including a rapidly aging population, slowdown in total factor productivity, infrastructure gaps, low domestic private investment and regional disparities -- if left unaddressed.

Georgia CLR Review FY14-17

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This review of the Georgia Completion and Learning Report of the World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY14-FY17, including the CPS Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of April 2017. Georgia is a lower-middle-income country with a GDP per capita of 3,866 dollars (2016).Its economy grew on average by 3.5 percent annually during the review period higher Show MoreThis review of the Georgia Completion and Learning Report of the World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY14-FY17, including the CPS Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of April 2017. Georgia is a lower-middle-income country with a GDP per capita of 3,866 dollars (2016).Its economy grew on average by 3.5 percent annually during the review period higher than the 1.9 percent average for the ECA region—with persistently large external current account deficits in the 12-13 percent of GDP range financed mostly by foreign direct investments. The CPS corresponded well with the government's stated development objectives set out in the Socioeconomic Development Strategy 2020, which had as overarching aim to achieve faster, inclusive, and sustainable growth averaging 7 percent annually. The WBG's country program pursued two strategic objectives or focus areas of strengthening public service delivery to promote inclusive growth and enabling private-sector-led job creation through improved competitiveness. The areas selected were congruent with the country's development goals, and in sectors where it had shown capacity to deliver in the past. IEG adds the following lesson: Competitiveness and labor market issues are key binding constraints for Georgia's growth, and areas in which the Bank has comparative advantage. Yet, the Bank failed to address them adequately and effectively under this CPS. To maximize development effectiveness, the Bank should not miss opportunities to address effectively areas which are both significant binding constraints for country growth and in the domain of the Bank's comparative advantage.

Tanzania CLR Review FY12-16

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Tanzania is a low-income country with a GNI per capita of US$900 in 2016. During the CAS period, the economy grew steadily at 6.7 percent annually compared with an average of 3.5 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Yet, a recent IMF program review report (January 2018) underscores that recent signs of weakening economic activity coexist with large infrastructure gaps, a business climate that Show MoreTanzania is a low-income country with a GNI per capita of US$900 in 2016. During the CAS period, the economy grew steadily at 6.7 percent annually compared with an average of 3.5 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Yet, a recent IMF program review report (January 2018) underscores that recent signs of weakening economic activity coexist with large infrastructure gaps, a business climate that has worsened, budget payment arrears in part owing to the electric utility’s (TANESCO) financial difficulties, and problems with tax collections, administration, and policy. Governance indicators on the efficiency and transparency in public management did not improve during the CAS period. Moreover, in the 2018 Doing Business report, Tanzania ranks 137 out of 190 countries, which compares less favorably with its SSA neighbors and reveals weak private sector competitiveness. Hence, sustained reforms to enhance budget credibility and implementation as well as to improve the business climate are needed to achieve strong growth led by the private sector as intended by the government.

Nicaragua CLR Review FY13-17

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Nicaragua is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $2,050 in 2016. Nicaragua’s annual economic growth increased from 3.3 percent during the prior CPS period (2008-2012) to 4.9 percent during the CPS period under review (2013-17). Growth was sustained by an adequate macro and fiscal environment and responded to higher growth of the US economy, from 0.9 percent to 2.2 percent Show MoreNicaragua is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $2,050 in 2016. Nicaragua’s annual economic growth increased from 3.3 percent during the prior CPS period (2008-2012) to 4.9 percent during the CPS period under review (2013-17). Growth was sustained by an adequate macro and fiscal environment and responded to higher growth of the US economy, from 0.9 percent to 2.2 percent between the two CPS periods. Growth helped reduce poverty rates, from 42.5 percent in 2009 to 29.6 percent in 2014 and 24.9 percent in 2016. Better social conditions are reflected in Nicaragua’s Human Development Index, which improved from 0.636 in 2013 (ranked 132nd among 187 countries) to 0.645 in 2015 (ranked 124th among 188 countries). However, inequality (the GINI Index) increased, from 44.2 in 2009 to 46.6 in 2014. The poverty rate in rural areas (50.1 percent in 2014) remains higher than in urban areas (14.8 percent in 2014), and 45 percent of Nicaraguans are at risk of falling into poverty if hit by a shock.

Turkey CLR Review FY12-16

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Turkey is an upper middle income country with a GNI per capita of USD 9,950 dollars in current US dollars (2015).The government set out its objectives in the Ninth Development Plan for 2007-13 and the 2012-14 Medium-Term Program. Four priorities stood out: (i) pursue sound macroeconomic and structural fiscal policies to maintain stability and reduce vulnerabilities, (ii) improve the investment Show MoreTurkey is an upper middle income country with a GNI per capita of USD 9,950 dollars in current US dollars (2015).The government set out its objectives in the Ninth Development Plan for 2007-13 and the 2012-14 Medium-Term Program. Four priorities stood out: (i) pursue sound macroeconomic and structural fiscal policies to maintain stability and reduce vulnerabilities, (ii) improve the investment climate and labor market to increase competitiveness and create jobs, especially for women and youth, (iii) reform education, health service provision, and social welfare to increase productivity and promote equal opportunity, and (iv) continue reforms of energy and water sectors, and invest in increasing energy efficiency. In support of the government's objectives, the WBG Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) pursued reforms in three areas for enhancing competitiveness and employment, improving equity and public services, and deepening sustainable development. The CPS was extended by one year to include FY16, in part to allow the CPS period to be aligned with the political cycle, as parliamentary elections were scheduled for mid-2015.The CPS supported the government's priorities and was adjusted during the PLR to reflect changing priorities, although the adjustment was not robust enough to reflect economic vulnerabilities. The program areas were selective, but program objectives were unfocused owing to their many dimensions, which diminished the program's impact. Development policy operations and project lending were complemented by economic and sector work and technical assistance; however, the non-lending portfolio was spread thinly over many areas.In Focus Area 1, there was limited progress in increasing domestic savings and enhancing external resilience while progress was mixed on the investment and business climate objective. The objective on sustaining macroeconomic stability, domestic savings, strengthen exports and external resilience had multiple dimensions not reflected in the two outcome indicators that covered a narrow range of the objective. Corporate governance was improved through more extensive firm audits, and enhanced reporting and disclosure requirements. In Focus Area II performance was adequate, with some progress on gender equality and a more inclusive labor market, and evidence of improved equity in the provision of health services. While work remains to be done in health to improve client satisfaction, broad measures of health outcomes show progress in improving health outcomes during the program period. In Focus Area III, good progress was made in increasing the supply of energy and use of renewable energy, mixed progress on improving the sustainability of Turkish cities, and limited achievements in strengthening environmental management and adaptation to climate change.

Moldova CLR Review FY14-17

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Moldova is a small, lower-middle income economy with a GNI per capita of $2,240 in 2015 (a decline from 2014). In 2015, the economy suffered from an adverse external environment, a summer drought, and a banking crisis, but IMF reports that the economy expanded by 4.1 percent in 2016. After 1999, the country has had a high economic growth and significant progress in reducing poverty and boosting Show MoreMoldova is a small, lower-middle income economy with a GNI per capita of $2,240 in 2015 (a decline from 2014). In 2015, the economy suffered from an adverse external environment, a summer drought, and a banking crisis, but IMF reports that the economy expanded by 4.1 percent in 2016. After 1999, the country has had a high economic growth and significant progress in reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity, with 4.8 percent growth in consumption among the bottom 40 percent in 2009-14, compared with 1.3 percent for the entire population. The 2016 Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) notes that the national poverty rate shrank from 26 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2014. The poverty reduction in Moldova has been driven largely by remittances and pensions. The country ranked 107 out of 188 countries on the 2015 Human Development Index, representing a very modest improvement from 2010. Moldova’s ranking on the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) declined significantly on Control of Corruption (from around 29 in 2011 to 17 in 2015). IEG ratings are as follows: development outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, and World Bank Group (WBG) performance was fair. Two main lessons from this review: First, that caution is called for in moving rapidly to focus on budget support and results based operations under circumstances where there is concern about the quality of systems and controls in financial management and procurement. Second, that results frameworks would need to be designed with outcome indicators that clearly measure the achievement of the stated objectives, taking into account country context and WBG interventions.