Since the 2015 World Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) has become increasingly important to the development policy agenda. The development community recognized that official development assistance was unlikely to be adequate to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, and resources from other sources would be needed, including domestic revenue.
In the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, high fiscal deficits and already high and rising debt levels made enhancing DRM a significant priority for developing economies, particularly lower-income countries. Since the onset of the pandemic, tax revenues have dropped by 12 percent in real terms, and in many countries, ratios of tax to gross domestic product have fallen below 15 percent —considered the minimum necessary to finance a state’s basic functions.
This evaluation assessed the relevance and effectiveness of World Bank–supported strategies and interventions between fiscal years (FY)16 and FY19 to help client countries enhance DRM. The period of analysis, though relatively short, covers a major elevation in the importance the international community assigned to DRM. It also allows for a comparison of performance with the previous period of FY12–15.
The evaluation includes insights from country case studies in Chad, Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Madagascar, Pakistan, and Rwanda; and offers 4 recommendations for the World Bank to make better use of the resources it currently has for supporting DRM.