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Report/Evaluation Type:Country Focused Validations
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Philippines CLR Review FY15-19

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The Philippine economy has been growing rapidly over the past decade. However, performance on poverty reduction, inequality and human development has been persistently low. The country is also a natural disaster hotspot, with frequent typhoons, tropical storms and earthquakes. It has also been affected by internal unrest, predominantly the protracted conflict and violence on the southern island Show MoreThe Philippine economy has been growing rapidly over the past decade. However, performance on poverty reduction, inequality and human development has been persistently low. The country is also a natural disaster hotspot, with frequent typhoons, tropical storms and earthquakes. It has also been affected by internal unrest, predominantly the protracted conflict and violence on the southern island of Mindanao. The 2014 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) was well aligned with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-16 that aimed at reducing poverty and improving the lives of the poorest segments of the population. The subsequent PDP 2017-22 shifted some emphasis to major infrastructure investments – where the WBG has not been particularly active – but also seeks to lift about six million citizens from poverty, achieve upper-middle income status by 2022, and to deliver a comprehensive agenda for peace and development in conflict-affected areas. The WBG program as adjusted in the 2017 PLR was therefore well aligned with significant aspects of the current PDP. The CPS set out a program that was divided in five focus areas: Transparent and Accountable Government; Empowerment of the Poor and the Vulnerable; Rapid, Inclusive and Sustained Economic Growth; Climate Change, Environment, and Disaster Risk Management; and Peace, Institution-Building, and Social and Economic Opportunity – all these areas were of high priority for the country and under the PDP.

Kazakhstan CLR Review FY12-17

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The Republic of Kazakhstan is a land-locked upper middle-income country with a nominal GNI per capita of $7960 in 2017. The country depends on oil, with production and exports of hydrocarbon accounting for 21 percent of GDP and 62 percent of exports in 2017. Average annual GDP growth declined from 6.5 percent during 2006-2011 to 3.6 percent during the CPS period (2012-17), primarily due to Show MoreThe Republic of Kazakhstan is a land-locked upper middle-income country with a nominal GNI per capita of $7960 in 2017. The country depends on oil, with production and exports of hydrocarbon accounting for 21 percent of GDP and 62 percent of exports in 2017. Average annual GDP growth declined from 6.5 percent during 2006-2011 to 3.6 percent during the CPS period (2012-17), primarily due to deteriorating oil prices after 2013. The fall in oil prices reduced the growth of non-oil activities and the associated gains in wages and employment. Per capita GDP grew at 2.1 percent during the CPS period and contributed to reduce the poverty headcount ratio at national poverty line from 5.5 to 2.5 percent of the population between 2011 and 2017. Income distribution improved, with the Gini index falling from 0.28 in 2011 to 0.275 in 2017. The Human Development Index improved from 0.765 in 2010 to 0.800 in 2017. Kazakhstan key development challenges and goals set in the Strategy 2030 and Strategy 2050 include strengthening macroeconomic management (including strengthening of non-oil sources of revenues), reducing the state presence in the economy, strengthening regional economics through infrastructure and agricultural value chains, ensuring equal access to high quality education, enhancing social protection, managing natural resources, policy regarding water resources and improving governance and public sector capacity.

Republic of Congo CLR Review FY13-17

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The Republic of Congo is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita (Atlas method in current $) of $1,480 in 2017. Oil production had been the main driver of growth and source of government revenues, with average annual GDP growth of 5.8 percent during 2008-2012. The poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 per day (2011 PPP, percent of population) had been declining, from 50.2 percent in 2005 Show MoreThe Republic of Congo is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita (Atlas method in current $) of $1,480 in 2017. Oil production had been the main driver of growth and source of government revenues, with average annual GDP growth of 5.8 percent during 2008-2012. The poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 per day (2011 PPP, percent of population) had been declining, from 50.2 percent in 2005 to 37 percent in 2011. However, poverty reduction occurred mainly in urban areas, with rural areas experiencing an increase in the poverty rate. There was little change in the Gini coefficient between 2005 and 2011. During the CPS period, oil prices dropped, resulting in a decline in average annual GDP growth to 1.4 percent during 2013-2017. The Systematic Country Diagnostic (2018) for the Republic of Congo estimated the poverty rate to have declined further to 35 percent in 2016. The human development index improved from 0.57 in 2012 to 0.61 in 2017. The overarching objectives of the CPS were to promote economic diversification and improve outcomes in public services with three pillars: (i) competitiveness and employment; (ii) vulnerability and resilience; and (iii) capacity building and governance.

Timor-Leste CLR Review FY13-19

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This review of the Timor-Leste’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the original CPS period (FY13-FY17), and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of 2016. The PLR extended the original CPS period by one year to FY18 in order to synchronize the CPS strategy with the country’s political cycle. Timor-Leste is a lower Show MoreThis review of the Timor-Leste’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the original CPS period (FY13-FY17), and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of 2016. The PLR extended the original CPS period by one year to FY18 in order to synchronize the CPS strategy with the country’s political cycle. Timor-Leste is a lower middle-income country, with an oil dependent economy. With oil reserves running low, the key challenges facing Timor-Leste are to achieve greater economic diversification and diminish reliance on public sector spending. At the beginning of the CPS period, the political environment was stable and oil prices high. The country was affected by a significant fall in oil prices that started in 2013, and political uncertainty adversely affected economic activity in 2017 and for most of 2018, as public expenditures fell by over one third. On the whole, growth was modest compared to East-Asia Pacific region peers, reflecting both the fall in oil prices and the political uncertainty towards the end of the program period.

Cabo Verde CLR Review FY15-17

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During the CPS period, Cabo Verde’s economy grew annually by an average of 3.2%, an improvement over the average 0.83% growth during 2012-2014. The percentage of the population below the national poverty line fell from 58% in 2001 to 35% in 2015. Cabo Verde’s UN Human Development Index rose from 0.647 in 2015 to 0.654 in 2017, and its rank increased from 132nd of 187 countries Show MoreDuring the CPS period, Cabo Verde’s economy grew annually by an average of 3.2%, an improvement over the average 0.83% growth during 2012-2014. The percentage of the population below the national poverty line fell from 58% in 2001 to 35% in 2015. Cabo Verde’s UN Human Development Index rose from 0.647 in 2015 to 0.654 in 2017, and its rank increased from 132nd of 187 countries in 2013 to 125th of 189 countries in 2015. Development challenges during the CPS period stemmed from the continuing effects of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. The government responded to the crisis with an ambitious counter-cyclical investment program, leading to increased deficits and reversing a previously declining trajectory of public debt. Major ongoing constraints included lack of human capital (workforce skills), insufficient connectivity (transport, communications, and electricity) among the country’s ten islands; weak public sector performance; poor business climate; and lack of resilience to trade volatility and to climactic and geological hazards.

Burundi CLR Review FY13-16

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This review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), FY13-16, and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated February 25, 2015. The World Bank Group’s (WBG) CAS had three focus areas: (i) improving competitiveness, (ii) improving resilience by consolidating social stability, and (iii) Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), FY13-16, and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated February 25, 2015. The World Bank Group’s (WBG) CAS had three focus areas: (i) improving competitiveness, (ii) improving resilience by consolidating social stability, and (iii) strengthening governance. The CAS was broadly aligned with the Government’s Second National Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRSP II), 2012-2015, which seeks to improve governance, growth and job creation, social services, and environmental/spatial management. Specifically, the CAS focus areas and objectives supported PRSP II objectives on quality of economic infrastructure, promotion of the private sector and job creation, strengthening the social safety net, capacity building and improved performance in the healthcare system, and fiscal management.

Papua New Guinea CLR Review FY13-18

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This review covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY13-FY16, and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated July 1, 2016. At the PLR stage, the CPS period was extended by two years. Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a lower middle-income country with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of $2,340 in 2017. Oil and gas extraction has been the main driver of Show MoreThis review covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY13-FY16, and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated July 1, 2016. At the PLR stage, the CPS period was extended by two years. Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a lower middle-income country with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of $2,340 in 2017. Oil and gas extraction has been the main driver of economic growth. During the CPS period, GDP growth varied considerably, from 0.3 percent in 2018 to 15 percent in 2014, due to volatility in commodity prices and disruption in the operations of three major mining and petroleum projects from a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in 2018. The country’s Human Development Index increased from 0.52 percent in 2010 to 0.544 in 2017, ranking 153rd among 189 countries in 2017. PNG rejoined the WBG’s Harmonized List of Fragile and conflict affected situation Countries (FCS) in FY17 and FY18. This list had excluded PNG since 2011. The World Bank Group’s (WBG) CPS had three pillars (or focus areas): (i) increased and more gender-equitable access to inclusive physical and financial infrastructure, (ii) gender equitable improvements in lives and livelihoods, and (iii) increasingly prudent management of revenues and benefits. IEG rated the CPS development outcome as moderately unsatisfactory, and the WBG performance as fair. The CLR provides three lessons: First, portfolio improvements require sustained engagement by all project teams, implementing agencies, and the Government, as well as stronger interagency coordination. Second, PNG’s institutional and social fragility places a premium on understanding political economy factors with a bearing on projects, and on monitoring and ensuring awareness of grievance redress mechanisms. Third, partnerships can help expand ASA, increase the WBG’s impact, and test new ideas.

Tajikistan CLR Review FY15-18

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This independent review of the World Bank Group's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY15-FY18.The government's National Development Strategy (NDS), 2006-2015, aimed at generating sustainable growth, improving public administration, and developing human resources. The CPS original design was broadly aligned with NDS through its three Show MoreThis independent review of the World Bank Group's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY15-FY18.The government's National Development Strategy (NDS), 2006-2015, aimed at generating sustainable growth, improving public administration, and developing human resources. The CPS original design was broadly aligned with NDS through its three focus areas: (1) strengthening the role of the private sector; (2) social inclusion; and, (3) promoting regional connectivity. The CPS design also included cross-cutting areas in gender, governance, and climate change. The CPS sought to help Tajikistan transition to a new growth model. The cost of complying with business regulation dropped, although Tajikistan continues to rank the lowest in the Central Asia region per the 2019 Doing Business report. Tax e-filing has exceeded expectations, but taxpayer satisfaction with new procedures was not assessed. The World Bank collaborated effectively with development partners in areas such as energy, water, and governance. INT received ten complaints and launched three investigations which all closed as substantiated.IEG agrees with the lessons and highlights the following: (i) overambitious objectives and/or under-emphasis of institutional impacted the success of the CPS program; (ii) with greater ownership and commitment, the government can (and does) implement “transformational projects” and achieve significant results; and, (iii) uneven governance standards, weak administration capacities, and inadequate internal review practices are constraints to swift implementation and need to be anticipated and managed proactively.IEG adds two lessons: i) A country program should identify objectives that match the level of ambition of the program and its intended results and impact; and ii) Political economy analysis of the drivers of policy reform is necessary early on to accompany implementation of ambitious goals.

Croatia CLR Review FY14-17

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This review of the Croatia's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY14-FY17, and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of 2016.The World Bank Group program had three focus areas: (i) promoting fiscal consolidation, (ii) improving competitiveness to spur growth, and (iii) maximizing the benefits of EU Show MoreThis review of the Croatia's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY14-FY17, and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of 2016.The World Bank Group program had three focus areas: (i) promoting fiscal consolidation, (ii) improving competitiveness to spur growth, and (iii) maximizing the benefits of EU membership. These were broadly congruent with the government's 2013 Economic Program, which covered fiscal consolidation with a particular focus on pension reform and rationalizing hospitals; growth and competitiveness through a sustainable development strategy based on the knowledge economy; and absorption of EU funds available to Croatia. The CPS addressed key challenges facing the country, including EU accession, and was congruent with the Government's 2013 Economic Program and aligned with the WBG's twin goals. The analytical work undertaken by the World Bank contributed to the 2018 Systematic Country Diagnostic Study (SCD), and addressed fiscal issues as well as issues in the justice system, energy, and smart specialization. Portfolio performance was comparable with the ECA region and the World Bank, but some interventions were affected by changes in government priorities.

Argentina CLR Review FY15-18

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This independent review of the World Bank Group's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the World Bank Group's Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Argentina, FY15-FY18. The CPS had three focus areas: (a) unlocking long-term productivity growth and job creation; (b) increasing access to and quality of social infrastructure and services for the poor; and (c) reducing Show MoreThis independent review of the World Bank Group's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the World Bank Group's Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Argentina, FY15-FY18. The CPS had three focus areas: (a) unlocking long-term productivity growth and job creation; (b) increasing access to and quality of social infrastructure and services for the poor; and (c) reducing environmental risks and safeguarding natural resources. Gender and governance were cross-cutting themes to be integrated into WBG engagements. While the CPS was finalized before the 2015 election, the CPS framework remained relevant to the new administration's critical priorities, which included economic reforms to boost long-term productivity growth, developing social infrastructure and services in areas with the highest levels of poverty concentration, and meeting the country's targets for Nationally Determined Contributions for climate change.