Join us Live on
Thursday, June 14, 9:00 a.m EDT for

Doing More While Doing Better

a review and discussion about
World Bank Group portfolio performance
and the 2017 Results and
Performance of the World Bank Group report.


Each year, IEG reviews the aggregate development effectiveness of World Bank Group projects completed during the past three years. Have projects delivered measurable results for their clients – and are the World Bank Group’s constituent institutions meeting their corporate targets? The 2017 Results and Performance of the World Bank Group report, published last week, answers some of these questions for projects completed during the FY14-16 period.

We found that, although the share of World Bank (IBRD & IDA) projects rated moderately satisfactory or above (MS+) increased by three percent since the FY11-13 period, it remained below the corporate scorecard target of 75 percent. When weighting by volume, the share rated MS+ exceeded the corporate scorecard target of 80 percent of funds disbursed to projects rated MS+. However, when excluding the 11 projects closed during FY14-16 with a volume of $800m or more, the share of funds disbursed to MS+ projects only just met the corporate target, suggesting that the successful outcomes of a handful of large projects drove the World Bank’s volume-weighted project outcome ratings.

So, what does it mean for a project outcome to be rated at least moderately satisfactory? World Bank project outcomes are evaluated against the project’s development objectives. At appraisal, the team defines a set of measurable indicators to assess progress towards those objectives. After completing the project, the team conducts a structured assessment of whether those objectives were met and uses corporate guidelines to assign a rating, which is then validated by IEG. Those projects that show convincing evidence of having accomplished their stated objectives – whether they are increasing crop production, improving literacy rates, or implementing policy reform – receive higher ratings than those that do not.


While project outcome ratings rely on factors influenced by the implementing environment, the World Bank performance rating relies on factors within the control of the Bank – for example, whether the project design is suited to the needs of its beneficiaries. The share of projects rated MS+ on World Bank performance closely mirrors that of project outcome, though it should be noted that projects in difficult environments – low-income countries and countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) – tended to receive substantially lower ratings on World Bank performance. Among projects completed in countries classified as FCV at time of closing, 66 percent were rated MS+ on World Bank performance, compared to 75 percent of projects completed outside of FCV-affected countries.

Development outcome ratings for IFC investment projects evaluated in CY14-CY16 continued their downward trend, both by number of projects and by IFC’s net commitment. Among the four components of development outcome ratings, only the ratings for the investment projects’ environmental and social effects improved. Evaluated investment projects in IDA countries closed in CY14-16 registered a slightly higher share of mostly successful or better (also MS+) outcome ratings compared to non-IDA countries, but the share investment project outcomes rated MS+ in FCS and non-FCS countries have both declined.

Development effectiveness ratings for IFC advisory projects evaluated in FY14-FY16 showed a similar downward trend, both by number of projects and by IFC expenditure. The share of advisory projects in IDA and non-IDA countries with MS+ development effectiveness ratings have both declined in FY14-FY16 and so did the evaluated projects in both FCS and non-FCS countries.

IEG analysis identified poor front-end work quality, particularly IFC’s screening, appraisal, and structuring of investment projects and project preparation and design in advisory projects, as a major factor of the declining ratings. A joint IEG-IFC working group has identified the root causes of the declining work quality ratings, which IFC has started to address. Results of IFC’s initiatives will be evident only with the evaluation of projects approved in FY18 and onward.

With 62 percent of development outcomes rated satisfactory or better (S+) for projects closed during the FY11-16 period, MIGA’s project outcomes have remained consistent with the FY06-11 period. MIGA projects in challenging environments – IDA-eligible and FCV countries – had a higher share of development outcomes rated S+. There is still room for improving MIGA’s development outcome ratings through better data collection, documentation of project results, and assessment of risk to development outcome.

If you would like to explore the report’s data for yourself, view our interactive dashboards.

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