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Report/Evaluation Type:Country Focused Validations
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Morocco CLR Review FY14-17

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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), FY14-FY17. In addition to the CLR, this review is based on the original CPS approved by the Board on April 1, 2014 and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 24,2016 which updated aspects of the original CPS. Morocco is a lower middle- Show MoreThis independent review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-FY17. In addition to the CLR, this review is based on the original CPS approved by the Board on April 1, 2014 and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 24,2016 which updated aspects of the original CPS. Morocco is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $2,860 in 2017. Steady economic growth from 2001 to 2013 helped close the income gap with Mediterranean Europe and reduce poverty from 15.3 percent to 4.8 percent and lower the Gini coefficient from 40.6 to 39.5 over the same period. The well-being of the poorest 40 percent of the population improved in absolute and relative terms.1 Morocco’s UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) score has been increasing gradually from 0.53 in 2010 to 0.67 in 2016, when the country’s ranked 123rd out of 188 countries. However, economic growth has slowed. Average annual GDP growth between 2014 and 2017 was only 3.1 percent despite investment exceeding 30 percent of GDP. Major development challenges have included a high rate of unemployment (around 10 percent), especially among the young (about 30 percent), and regional income disparities. Macroeconomic indicators have improved with lower fiscal and current account deficits and the public debt to GDP ratio stabilized at around 65 percent in 2016. The CPS had three focus areas: (i) promoting competitive and inclusive growth; (ii) building a green and resilient future; and (iii) strengthening governance and institutions for improved service delivery to all citizens.

Zambia CLR Review FY13-17

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The review of Zambia’s completion and learning review (CLR) of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) country partnership strategy (CPS) covers the period FY13-FY17. The WBG’s CPS had three focus areas: (a) reducing poverty and vulnerability of the poor; (b) improving competitiveness and infrastructure for growth and employment; and (c) improving governance and strengthening economic management. Cross- Show MoreThe review of Zambia’s completion and learning review (CLR) of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) country partnership strategy (CPS) covers the period FY13-FY17. The WBG’s CPS had three focus areas: (a) reducing poverty and vulnerability of the poor; (b) improving competitiveness and infrastructure for growth and employment; and (c) improving governance and strengthening economic management. Cross-cutting elements included regional integration, strengthening institutional capacity, and addressing governance, gender, and climate change challenges. The CPS was aligned with the government’s sixth national development plan 2013-2016, which aimed to accelerate infrastructure development and economic diversification, promote rural investment, accelerate poverty reduction, and enhance human development. Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) rates the CPS development outcome moderately unsatisfactory. The CLRR agrees with the CLR lessons as specified: (a) collaboration and coordination among stakeholders is critical to improving portfolio quality, (b) the number and design of projects should consider implementation capacity of the country and supervision capacity of the WBG, (c) WBG projects should be reflected in, and aligned with, the government program, (d) the WB can be effective in strengthening institutions at the local level, and (e) incorporating accountability measures in project designs promotes good governance, transparency, and oversight.

Paraguay CLR Review FY15-18

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Paraguay - Completion and Learning Review for the Period FY15-FY18 : IEG Review (English) Paraguay is an upper middle-income country with a population of 6.8 million (2017) and a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of USD 3,920 in 2017.The population is very young (60 percent under thirty years old) and the country is going through a rapid urbanization process from a low base. The country has over Show MoreParaguay - Completion and Learning Review for the Period FY15-FY18 : IEG Review (English) Paraguay is an upper middle-income country with a population of 6.8 million (2017) and a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of USD 3,920 in 2017.The population is very young (60 percent under thirty years old) and the country is going through a rapid urbanization process from a low base. The country has over the last 15 years achieved solid economic growth (average GDP growth of 4.7 percent per annum) and improved shared prosperity, spurred by abundant natural resources. The CPS for the World Bank Group (WBG) had three pillars (or focus areas): (i) resilience to risks and volatility; (ii) pro-poor delivery of public goods and services; and (iii) agricultural productivity and market integration. The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) focus areas and objectives were broadly aligned with the government's National Development Plan (NDP) 2014-2030 and supported the NDP's higher level objective to reduce extreme poverty and foster income growth of the bottom 40 percent. The WBG's program components were well aligned with the NDP and addressed important development issues. The program was selective with three focus areas and eight objectives (some of which, however, contained multiple sub-objectives). The Bank demonstrated flexibility by shifting to knowledge services when the demand for IBRD lending dropped in the run-up to the election. However, the results framework had significant shortcomings which were not fully addressed at the PLR stage. The Completion and Learning Review (CLR) highlighted six lessons with which IEG concurs: (i) simplicity in project design helps speed up project implementation; (ii) investment projects may help to build governance and capacity; (iii) a realistic results framework is needed for timely achievement of objectives; (iv) a strong ASA program requires selectivity and government ownership; (v) RASs may help prioritize ASA demand and advance reforms during Paraguay's long project preparation cycles; and (vi) the flexibility afforded by programmatic ASA helps respond to changes in client needs.

Liberia CLR Review FY13-17

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Liberia is a low-income country with a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of 380 US dollars in 2017. After a period of conflict and instability, Liberia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 6.2 percent during 2003-2013. The ebola virus disease (EVD) crisis of 2014-2016 and a drop in global commodity prices resulted in slower average annual GDP growth of 2.1 percent with per Show MoreLiberia is a low-income country with a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of 380 US dollars in 2017. After a period of conflict and instability, Liberia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 6.2 percent during 2003-2013. The ebola virus disease (EVD) crisis of 2014-2016 and a drop in global commodity prices resulted in slower average annual GDP growth of 2.1 percent with per capita annual GDP growth at -0.4 percent during 2013-2017. As a post conflict country aiming to achieve sustained broad-based growth, Liberia faces several development challenges: large infrastructure gaps, poor education and health indicators, a large youth cohort, lack of economic diversification, and weak public institutions. The World Bank Group's country partnership strategy had three pillars: (i) economic transformation; (ii) human development; and (iii) governance and public sector institutions. In addition, the CPS had two cross-cutting themes of capacity development and gender equality. The CPS focus areas and objectives were well aligned with the government's agenda for transformation with a strong focus on infrastructure. The CLR provided a succinct assessment of the achievement of program objectives. It identified the increases in IDA lending attributable to the EVD outbreak. The CLR review agrees with the CLR lessons: (i) ensure government's strong commitment to the CPF program through close alignment with the country's development plans; (ii) adapt and apply a sound post-conflict and fragile country lens in the design of CPF programs for post conflict countries; (iii) keep an eye on medium-term goals even in the face of a crisis such as EVD; (iv) being selective about cross-cutting themes and including outcomes associated with these themes helps maintain the Government's and Country Team's focus on them throughout implementation. IEG provides the following additional lessons: (i) flexibility of the CPS program enabled the WBG to respond to the EVD crisis in a timely manner; and (ii) trust fund activities need to have a well-articulated strategic focus and explicit selectivity filters to ensure that they contribute to the achievement of CPS objectives.

Kyrgyz Republic CLR Review FY14-17

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The Kyrgyz Republic is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $1,100 in 2016. It is a country with a land-locked and mountainous geography, and rich in mineral and water resources. GDP growth averaged 3.7 percent during the CPS period (2014-17), somewhat below the average during the previous four years (4.0 percent). Gold production and worker remittances have been significant Show MoreThe Kyrgyz Republic is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $1,100 in 2016. It is a country with a land-locked and mountainous geography, and rich in mineral and water resources. GDP growth averaged 3.7 percent during the CPS period (2014-17), somewhat below the average during the previous four years (4.0 percent). Gold production and worker remittances have been significant drivers of growth, but are subject to volatility and do not lend themselves to sustained growth. Growth helped reduce poverty rates, from the recent peak of 38.0 percent in 2012 to 25.4 percent in 2015. Nevertheless, the country’s Human Development Index improved slightly from 0.656 in 2013 (ranked 125nd among 187 countries) to 0.664 in 2015 (ranked 120th among 188 countries). Inequality (the GINI Index) declined from 28.8 in 2013 to 26.8 in 2016, Policy effectiveness has been undermined by high levels of corruption and frequent changes in Government. Kyrgyz’s rank in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index deteriorated from 123rd of 167 in 2015 to 135th of 167 in 2017. During the CPS period, there were five different prime ministers. The World Bank Group’s (WBG) CPS had three pillars (or focus areas): (i) public administration and public service delivery, (ii) business environment and investment climate, and (iii) natural resources and physical infrastructure. The CPS was aligned with the Government’s National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS), 2013-2017, specifically with NSDS objectives on public administration, judiciary, social services, financial and private sector development, agribusiness, exports, environmental protection/resource management, energy, transport, and urban development. These objectives were part of the NSDS broad focus on governance, state building, and economic development. WBG’s support was also aligned with a number of specific government programs (e.g., the Governance and Anti-Corruption Plan adopted in 2012).

India CLR Review FY13-17

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This review of the India Completion and Learning Report of the World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY13-FY17, including the CPS Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of September 2, 2015.The overarching goals of the WBG's CPS for India were to help the country accelerate poverty reduction and increase shared prosperity. The CPS was aligned with the Show MoreThis review of the India Completion and Learning Report of the World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY13-FY17, including the CPS Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of September 2, 2015.The overarching goals of the WBG's CPS for India were to help the country accelerate poverty reduction and increase shared prosperity. The CPS was aligned with the government's Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-2017), which sought high levels of economic growth and prioritized inclusiveness from several perspectives—poverty reduction, group equality, regional balance, and empowerment. The CPS organized its program around three engagement areas (or focus areas): (i) Integration with focus on physical connectivity to improve India's domestic, regional and global integration; (ii) Transformation by facilitating spatial transformation from rural to urban areas and benefitting from agglomeration economies, raising agricultural productivity and encouraging off-farm employment; and (iii) Inclusion by enhancing services in health, nutrition, education and social programs for the disadvantaged groups. The CPS had three cross-cutting themes of governance, environmental sustainability and gender equality which were envisaged to be embedded across the three engagement areas. The CPS committed to allocate 60 percent of the new commitments during the CPS directly to the states, of which half (30 percent) would go to the Low-Income States (LIS) and Special Category States (SCS).The government elected in May 2014 emphasized reforms to promote growth while maintaining attention to inclusion. The government and the WBG agreed to a narrow set of eight priorities to guide the work forward. These eight priorities could have provided the opportunity to consolidate the program interventions and sharpen the results framework. At the PLR, however, the CPS original program objectives remained virtually unchanged. The WBG responded to the new priorities by scaling up its lending and ASA; in effect, broadening the scope of its engagement in India beyond the original design. IEG concurs with key CLR lessons summarized as follows: i) expanding engagement in LIS/SCS requires significant time and resources; (ii) WBG activities in states were characterized by individual sector operations with limited integration, making the sum of engagement less than the parts; (iii) national-level operations supporting GoI Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) were generally effective for scaling up impact and engaging on policy but often had implementation challenges; (iv) the World Bank's ability to support systemic improvements through operations depended on the long-term partnership in the sector more than the amount of financing; (v) an increase in operations with Results Based Frameworks (RBF) during the CPS period appeared to promise stronger impact, but these operations need to ensure that the M&E systems to trigger disbursements are thoroughly developed; and (vi) examples of cross-sectoral operations providing a more holistic approach need to be expanded further.

Seychelles CLR Review FY12-16

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The World Bank Group's (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Seychelles covers the period, FY12-FY15. The CPS was extended by one year to FY16 at the Country Partnership Strategy Progress Report (CPSPR) in FY15. This Review covers both the CPS and CPSPR period, FY12-16.WBG's support for Seychelles was in line with the country's draft Seychelles Medium-Term National Development Strategy Show MoreThe World Bank Group's (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Seychelles covers the period, FY12-FY15. The CPS was extended by one year to FY16 at the Country Partnership Strategy Progress Report (CPSPR) in FY15. This Review covers both the CPS and CPSPR period, FY12-16.WBG's support for Seychelles was in line with the country's draft Seychelles Medium-Term National Development Strategy 2013–17 (MTNDS), later approved in 2015, which presented the vision and goals for the country. The core aim of the MTNDS was to reduce Seychelles' vulnerability and to provide the basis for long term sustainable development. Specifically, the objective of the MTNDS was to reduce vulnerability, increase resilience, and provide the basis fora sustainable development. The WBG supported the government in reducing vulnerability and building long-term sustainability with a program centered on two pillars: (i) increasing competitiveness and employment and (ii) reducing vulnerability and enhancing resilience, and one cross-cutting foundation, governance and public-sector capacity. The CPS built on the previous Interim Strategy and aimed to deepen and broaden structural reforms via programmatic support using Development Policy Lending (DPL) operations, complemented with Analytical and Advisory Services (ASA), including technical assistance and reimbursable advisory services (RAS).The IEG concurs with key lessons in the CLR: (i) development policy operations can be mobilized quickly and achieve strong results when complemented by sound analysis and technical assistance but it requires commitment and ownership, (ii) deeper understanding and assessment of political economy would help explain the successes and failures of specific reform efforts and identify factors that might otherwise be missed, and (iii) well-designed and updated results framework prove useful for Bank and Government monitoring of program implementation and results.

Solomon Islands CLR Review FY13-17

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This review of the Solomon Islands Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group’s (WBG)1 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY13-FY17, and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of August 2016. This is the first CPS for Solomon Islands following an Interim Strategy Note (ISN) in 2010. Solomon Islands is a small, remote archipelago in the South Pacific, Show MoreThis review of the Solomon Islands Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group’s (WBG)1 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY13-FY17, and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of August 2016. This is the first CPS for Solomon Islands following an Interim Strategy Note (ISN) in 2010. Solomon Islands is a small, remote archipelago in the South Pacific, with a population of 599,419 in 2016. It is a lower-middle-income country with a GNI per capita of US$1,880 in 2016. Between 2013 and 2016, its economy grew at an annual average rate of 2.8 percent while population grew at an annual average rate of 2.1 percent. Economic growth has been driven mostly by logging, services, and agriculture. Solomon is classified as a Fragile and Conflict-Affected State (FCS). The poverty head count ratio using the national poverty line was 12.7 percent in 2013, with a quarter of the population living below US$1.90 a day (2011 PPP). The last estimate for the Gini index was 37 in 2013 (a decline from 46 in 2005). Solomon Islands ranked 156 of 188 countries in the 2015 Human Development Index (HDI), putting it in the low human development category.

Nepal CLR Review FY14-18

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This review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-FY18, and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of February 21, 2017. This is the first CPS following three consecutive Interim Strategy Notes (ISN) in FY07, FY09, and FY11. Nepal is a low-income country with an average GNI per capita of $ Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-FY18, and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of February 21, 2017. This is the first CPS following three consecutive Interim Strategy Notes (ISN) in FY07, FY09, and FY11. Nepal is a low-income country with an average GNI per capita of $733 (2014-2016) and a population of 28.9 million in 2016. GDP per capita growth slowed to 0.6 percent in 2016 and inflation peaked at 12 percent in 2015/2016. The IMF estimates GDP growth at 7.5 percent for 2016/2017, and 5 percent in 2017/2018. The 2016 UNDP Human Development Index ranks Nepal 144 out of 188 countries. Poverty incidence fell from 46 percent in 1996 to 15 percent in 2011; and, it has continued to fall since then according to the Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCD, 2017). From 2004 to 2011, the consumption of the bottom 40 grew twice as fast as the top 60. But, inequality across regions and ethnic groups has been a source of political upheaval. During the CPS period, the country experienced two exogenous shocks and major political transitions. Two earthquakes (April and May 2015) took 9,000 lives and destroyed or damaged assets for approximately one quarter of the country’s GDP. Trade and fuel disruptions in 2015 further impacted economic activity. After the conflicting parties signed a peace treaty in 2006, Nepal has undergone a critical political transition, which culminated in 2015 with a new constitution that veers towards federalism.

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).