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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 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.

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- 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).

Mauritania CLR Review FY14-16

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This completion and learning review (CLR) covers the period FY 14-16. The country partnership strategy (CPS) consisted of two pillars (or focus areas): (1) Growth and diversification; and (2) economic governance and service delivery. The CPS work program was aligned with pillars I-IV of the third poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP3): (i) accelerating economic growth; (ii) Show MoreThis completion and learning review (CLR) covers the period FY 14-16. The country partnership strategy (CPS) consisted of two pillars (or focus areas): (1) Growth and diversification; and (2) economic governance and service delivery. The CPS work program was aligned with pillars I-IV of the third poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP3): (i) accelerating economic growth; (ii) anchoring growth in the economic sphere directly benefiting the poor; (iii) developing human resources and facilitating access to basic infrastructure; and (iv) promoting real institutional development supported by good governance. Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) concurs with some of lessons provided in the CLR summarized as follows: (i) for a CPS program to yield results, the time to implement the program must be long; (ii) CPS programs need to take a wider approach to sectors, as in the in case of the Banda Gas and associated transmission project; and (iii) the Bank needs to invest in capacity building, both in individual operations and in long-term reform and modernization.

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 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 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 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).