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The World Bank Group in Chad, 2010 to 2020


Overview and Main Findings

World Bank Group support to Chad was aligned with government priorities and World Bank diagnostics. Particularly during the latter half of the evaluation period, the World Bank made a deliberate effort to identify and address Chad’s main development constraints, including those that were also drivers of conflict. These constraints include (i) a legacy of domestic and regional conflict; (ii) weak governance, including weak public financial management; (iii) inadequate provision of basic services; (iv) overreliance on oil for fiscal resources; (v) gender inequality (including implications for high fertility); (vi) climate change; and (vii) inadequate physical infrastructure.

The Bank Group–supported program helped advance several human development objectives. This was particularly the case with respect to the delivery of basic services in health, education, and social protection. Advances were also made in gender equality, including through interventions in health, education, and agriculture. However, although consecutive strategies highlighted that pervasive gender-based violence hindered efforts to improve gender equality, there was no explicit strategy to reduce gender-based violence. Several projects approved at the end of the evaluation period (but not envisaged in the Country Partnership Framework) attempted to address gender-based violence through sensitization and training, but the project monitoring and evaluation framework did not include indicators to measure progress.

Timely budget support helped stave off an imminent fiscal crisis but did not ultimately achieve sustained reform. Budget support operations were successful in allowing the government to continue to function. However, these operations could not address fundamental shortcomings with weak public financial management, which contributed to arrears accumulation, or bring about fiscal sustainability writ large. In a context marked by government instability, development policy operations failed to achieve sustained meaningful policy reform.

Few results were achieved in agriculture, infrastructure, and public resource management. Although the World Bank helped Chad achieve some improvement in domestic tax and customs revenue collection and transparency in the use of natural resource revenues, the quality of governance was not significantly improved.

Notwithstanding the challenges inherent in working in a fragile and conflict-affected situation, the performance of the Bank Group portfolio in Chad was weak according to project outcome ratings and relative to expectations. Performance was undermined by a combination of procurement delays, high turnover of government counterparts, and a lack of continuity in World Bank staff working on Chad.

Procurement challenges were a recurrent problem for most investment projects in Chad, undermining performance across the board. Although program documents usually contained credible assessments of procurement risk and identified mitigation measures, their design was often overly complex given Chad’s limited capacity. Efforts have been made to simplify Chad’s procurement code, but vested interests continue to undermine the integrity of the system.

Collaboration with development partners helped improve World Bank effectiveness. This was particularly the case for the health and social protection portfolios and with the International Monetary Fund, where collaboration was guided strongly by support to help Chad reach the Completion Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

The following lessons are offered for consideration regarding future World Bank engagement in Chad:

  • Timely and targeted analytical work is necessary to inform priority setting, policy dialogue, and the design of reforms. In the case of Chad, when timely analytical work was available, it informed the design of more successful interventions. This was especially true for the World Bank’s social protection portfolio. Unfortunately, little analytical work was undertaken before and in the early part of the Interim Strategy Note period, when lending was curtailed. This was a missed opportunity that affected the World Bank’s ability to provide timely, targeted, and effective support when conditions improved. In recent years, however, there has been a surge in proposals for analytical work from a number of Global Practices. Given the prevalence of capacity and absorptive constraints, it is important to strategically prioritize analytical work to help identify the most binding constraints to development gains and to inform efforts to address them.
  • Procurement challenges warrant priority attention since they constrain implementation across the portfolio. This will require addressing the underlying political and bureaucratic obstacles. In Chad, this is not solely an issue of technical capacity, and an effective solution will require higher-level dialogue with the government.
  • Although working in Chad is challenging in the face of difficult conditions in the field, it is critical that the World Bank strengthen incentives to attract and retain talent to work on Chad. This is needed to improve continuity of engagement with country authorities and compensate for weak client capacity (including high turnover of government officials). Retaining country team staff and task team leaders for longer periods can help preserve operational and institutional knowledge and keep ongoing reforms and project implementation on track.