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Albania Country Program Evaluation

Chapter 4 | Conclusions, Lessons, and Suggestions

Overall, the extent to which the Bank Group program met its relevant objectives is rated moderately satisfactory. The overall rating is based on a synthesis of pillar-level ratings (appendix A, table A.1), with greater weight given to the rating for pillar 1, where lending was concentrated during the evaluation period. The rating recognizes certain positive features of program design and implementation. These included the agility with which the Bank Group responded to macrofinancial shocks, working closely with a newly elected government to help define and implement a robust policy agenda. Regarding Albania’s EU accession goal, the Bank Group played a supportive role while keeping its program firmly rooted in the institution’s goals of reducing extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. The Bank Group contributed to the regional integration agenda through several of its ASA and lending tasks. It deployed ASA strategically, making valuable contributions to government policy making and reform implementation.

Desirable adjustments to the Bank Group program include emphasis on improving portfolio implementation and greater selectivity in new IPF operations. Table 4.1 sets out the links among selected CPE findings, lessons drawn, and suggestions. The Bank Group’s strategy and program have been broadly appropriate, but some shortcomings were identified: The program may have been insufficiently selective given implementation capacity, political absorptive capacity, and governance considerations; the design of IPF operations was either too complex or did not sufficiently anticipate and mitigate impediments to implementation stemming from weak capacity and political economy factors. Adjustments in two directions would be desirable. First, in sectors and thematic areas where the Bank Group engages, it should use its ASA to define and encourage public debate about the policy reform agenda. Second, the Bank Group should redouble recent efforts to strengthen portfolio implementation, deploying new investment lending selectively and ensuring that efforts are made to proactively mitigate capacity and political economy constraints either as part of project design or through parallel efforts. Given the essential role of household survey data availability, the Bank Group is advised to encourage authorities to ensure that publication of future survey round results occurs regularly and on time.

Table 4.1. Selected Findings, Lessons, and Suggestions

Selected CPE Findings

Lessons Drawn


Use of World Bank Group advisory services and analytics in several areas (notably pensions) was effective in helping to articulate and build consensus and capacity for road maps for reform, which then provided the basis for lending support. Client stakeholders highly appreciated the Bank Group’s knowledge work.

Advisory services and analytics are an essential means of engagement for the Bank Group to help define and build consensus and capacity for reforms and to lay the groundwork for lending.

Use advisory services and analytics to engage government authorities, citizens, and other stakeholders to articulate and build support and consensus and capacity for reform options in sectors and thematic areas that the Bank Group considers essential to reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity and where there is stakeholder demand.

Implementation of the World Bank’s investment project financing portfolio during the evaluation period suffered difficulties and delays. The underlying causes included complex design and barriers to implementation related to capacity and political economy. Although capacity and political economy risks are usually flagged in program documents, they were not adequately mitigated in project design.

It is important for the design of investment project financing operations to be consistent with implementation capacity and to anticipate and adequately mitigate barriers to implementation, including those caused by weak capacity or political economy constraints.

Be more selective in new lending, given the implementation issue over the evaluation period, by deploying it to support reforms and investments for which consensus has been established, ensuring that efforts are made to proactively mitigate capacity and political economy constraints.

Source: Independent Evaluation Group.

Note: CPE = Country Program Evaluation.