Recommendation 1: At the corporate level, the World Bank and IFC should clarify its approach to the rural non-farm economy, and as part of it, how the Bank Group engages across its institutions, GPs, and partnerships to promote non-farm economic development to reduce poverty in the rural space. As part of this approach, options should be differentiated by the level of structural transformation and guided by portfolio lessons.
Recommendation 2: In order to bridge the identified gap, the World Bank and IFC should more flexibly and relevantly select and design projects in a manner tailored to the specific stage and nature of a country or area’s structural transformation and adapted to the needs and dynamics of the target rural population. To encourage this, the World Bank Group should increase the pooling of knowledge and cross-fertilization across GPs, regions, and units to build on and adapt ongoing approaches and to develop new ones.
Recommendation 3: The World Bank Group should work to close knowledge gaps about what works to reduce rural poverty within the rural non-farm economy. The World Bank should conduct evaluations (either systematically, through a representative sample, or through clusters) of poverty and growth oriented projects to learn more about mechanisms by which they influence the development of the RNFE and its impact on poverty
Recommendation 4: IFC should include in its value chain analysis and M&E a consideration of poverty and gender impacts, including income and employment for the rural poor; either systematically, or on a sample or cluster basis including through a strategic use of its external evaluations. In its value chain projects, IFC should more explicitly articulate the risks of market power and their mitigants in its project documentation.
Recommendation 5: In countries where the rural economy is a key part of the solution to ending poverty, the World Bank Group should (in partnership with donors and client countries) collect information on both formal and informal rural enterprises and their constraints and performance to help better inform the Systematic Country Diagnostic. RNFE diagnostics should include information for household-based enterprises as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises. Local capacity building and ownership is a critical part of this. This could be achieved by extending existing enterprise surveys to strengthen coverage of secondary cities and to include smaller enterprises in countries where existing surveys are limited in their coverage. This could be complemented by household surveys building on the experience of the LSMS-ISA on Agriculture to document entrepreneurial and work experience in rural enterprises.
Recommendation 6: The World Bank Group should strengthen and deepen gender analysis during project preparation of rural non-farm projects and more consistently use the results of this analysis to address gender-related binding constraints to female labor force participation in the RNFE. Project design should incorporate measures to address these constraints, and select indicators to track progress made toward gender related economic outcomes.
See Chapter 5: Conclusions and Recommendations