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Malawi CLR Review FY13-17

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This review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), FY13-FY17. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is an agrarian landlocked country, with a population of 18.6 million (2019) growing at 3 percent per year. Between 2013 and 2017 real GDP and real per capita GDP grew at 4.0 and 1.2 percent Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), FY13-FY17. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is an agrarian landlocked country, with a population of 18.6 million (2019) growing at 3 percent per year. Between 2013 and 2017 real GDP and real per capita GDP grew at 4.0 and 1.2 percent per year, respectively. The poverty headcount ratio at the national poverty line was 51.5 percent in 2016, slightly above the 50.7 percent in 2010. The Gini index (World Bank estimate) stood at 44.7 in 2016, below its 2010 level of 45.5. The Human Development Index improved from 0.441 in 2010 to 0.47 in 2015 and to 0.477 in 2017. During the review period, Malawi faced several challenges including the governance and public financial management crisis in September 2013 and two natural disasters- the flooding in 2015 which affected half of the country and the drought in 2016. The “cashgate” led to temporary suspension of donor budget support and sharp reduction in disbursement of aid funds through government systems with the consequent impact on the fiscal deficit.

Suivi et evaluation: quelques outils, methodes et approaches

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Le suivi et l'évaluation (S&E) des activités de développement donnent aux pouvoirs publics, aux ges-tionnaires du développement et à la société civile de meilleurs moyens de tirer les leçons de l'expérience, d'améliorer la prestation des services, de planifier et d'affecter les ressources, et de rendre compte aux principales parties prenantes en faisant état Show MoreLe suivi et l'évaluation (S&E) des activités de développement donnent aux pouvoirs publics, aux ges-tionnaires du développement et à la société civile de meilleurs moyens de tirer les leçons de l'expérience, d'améliorer la prestation des services, de planifier et d'affecter les ressources, et de rendre compte aux principales parties prenantes en faisant état des résultats obtenus.

How prepared is the World Bank Group to leverage the opportunities and mitigate the risks of disruptive and transformative technologies?

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An African agronomist is using a drone to monitor a corn crop. Image source: Shutterstock/Martin Harvey
Disruptive and transformative technologies (DTT) offer the welcome promise of faster progress and transforming people’s lives for the better. With the combined impacts of conflict, climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic threatening to drive up global poverty levels for the first time in decades, harnessing the potential of DTT is now more important than ever. But DTT also come with significant Show MoreDisruptive and transformative technologies (DTT) offer the welcome promise of faster progress and transforming people’s lives for the better. With the combined impacts of conflict, climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic threatening to drive up global poverty levels for the first time in decades, harnessing the potential of DTT is now more important than ever. But DTT also come with significant risks, such as, for example, income inequality, the lack of data privacy, and cyber surveillance. The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) recently assessed how well prepared the World Bank Group was to help clients leverage the opportunities and mitigate the risk posed by DTT. The evaluation found that, given the accelerating pace and complexity of technological change, the World Bank Group is not yet sufficiently well prepared to help clients harness the opportunities and mitigate the risks posed by DTT, despite some areas of strength. Areas of Strength The evaluation found that the World Bank Group’s traditional areas of strength have enabled its support for DTT. These areas of strength include the World Bank Group’s support for global public goods, its honest broker role, its capacity to provide technical advice and analysis, and its ability to mobilize financing from trust funds and IDA (the fund for the world’s poorest countries). In addition, there are some innovative World Bank-wide DTT initiatives, including the Development Data Partnership, Geospatial Operations Support Team (GOST) initiative, Geo-Enabling for Monitoring and Supervision (GEMS), and the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) TechEmerge and Scale-X. Areas for Improvement Despite its traditional strengths and innovative initiatives, there are a number of areas where the World Bank Group is less prepared. First, the Bank Group’s DTT diagnostics are not yet sufficiently well-linked with the twin goals of reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity. The diagnostics have often failed to address fundamental questions, such as: What explains low usage of DTT when there is internet coverage? Is low usage the result of high cost or the lack of local content? When there is usage, how effectively does it contribute to the twin goals? Second, the World Bank Group has yet to address the organization’s staff skills and mindsets for DTT. It came as a surprise to us that the World Bank Group has yet to identify the staff skills that it needs for DTT, the staff skills that it currently has, and how any gaps will be filled. In line with the World Bank Group’s Human Resources Strategy for the fiscal years 2020 to 2022, the evaluation also found that mindsets for continuous learning and adaptation in relation to DTT need greater attention.  Third, the World Bank has yet to tackle procurement bottlenecks in DTT projects. Procurement was universally identified by staff interviewed for this evaluation as a major constraint in DTT projects. The World Bank has introduced some flexibility in procurement rules, for example, introducing two-stage bidding where the exact solutions are not known upfront, and reducing the threshold for bidders’ years of experience to allow younger, innovative firms to bid. However, staff are reluctant to use these flexibilities given insufficient guidance on how to apply them in different situations and given an incentive environment that encourages risk aversion. Fourth, while IEG found specific examples of effective collaboration, there is insufficient collaboration on DTT across the World Bank Group. The need for enhanced collaboration across sectors is underlined by the wide-ranging nature of DTT projects that require not only digital hardware but also analog complements such as policies, institutions, and skills. Successful DTT-related outcomes also require knowledge and inputs from both the public and private sectors. Fifth, the World Bank Group has yet to create an institutional culture that fosters informed risk taking and innovation when it comes to DTT. Harnessing new technology often demands innovation, which by definition is without precedent and inevitably risky. There are several levers for informed risk taking and innovation that the World Bank Group can employ: Clear signaling by World Bank Group management on risk taking and how failure will be treated; Asking questions in operational review meetings that encourage innovation over routine; Reevaluating what is rewarded in staff performance evaluation and the criteria that are used for career development and staff promotions. Paths to Better Preparedness To make quicker progress on the twin goals, the World Bank Group will need to seize every opportunity to harness DTT and to address, in particular, the risks posed by DTT—solid diagnostics will be critical in this regard. Better preparation will also require a World Bank Group workforce equipped with the necessary skills to harness DTT opportunities and mitigate DTT risks. This will require the World Bank Group to identify DTT-relevant skills, determine gaps in these skills, and fill these gaps. Furthermore, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of World Bank procurement for DTT projects will help the World Bank Group to be better prepared to support DTT. Further areas that can help the World Bank Group to be better prepared for DTT include a stronger focus on development data, addressing the gender-differential impacts of DTT, and greater attention to imparting 21st century skills. What distinguishes the current DTT revolution from past technological revolutions is the explosion of data. In 2015 and 2016 alone, more data were created than in all previous years combined. But the World Bank Group is yet to become a data-driven organization that optimizes the use of public and private data, which is both made increasingly available by DTT and more effectively mined using DTT. With regard to gender-differential impacts of DTT, IEG found that just 7% of World Bank Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA) in the ICT sector approved during the fiscal years 2015 to 2018 were gender-relevant ASAs. This is a particular concern since it is in ASA that new opportunities to address the gender-differential impacts of DTT can be explored. In the area of skills, the World Bank Group has an opportunity to move the narrative forward from literacy and numeracy to include 21st century skills, in particular, the ability to learn and adapt.  To conclude, given that technology is set to continue to advance and evolve throughout our lifetimes, the World Bank Group will need to develop the organizational capability and mindset to learn, anticipate, and adapt to change on an ongoing basis—a one-time fix will not suffice. With better preparation the World Bank Group can respond more effectively and efficiently to the twin goals. Such preparation can also help improve the World Bank Group’s response to COVID-19 and facilitate its goal of building back better. * This blog is based on IEG’s recently released evaluation “Mobilizing Technology for Development: An Assessment of World Bank Group Preparedness.” The evaluation was conducted under the guidance and direction of Galina Sotirova and Oscar Calvo-Gonzalez, and benefited from the contribution of several other IEG staff and consultants. Inputs to this blog were also provided by William Stebbins and Arunjana Das. The authors are grateful for each of these contributions.   Pictured above: An African agronomist is using a drone to monitor a corn crop. Image source: Shutterstock/Martin Harvey

La reforma del sector de energía de la India (1978-1999)

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En 1993, la Oficina Regional de Asia Meridional puso en marcha una nueva estrategia para ayudar al sector energético de la India que promovía la reforma estructural de las entidades estatales reguladoras de la electricidad y la concesión de préstamos con el único objetivo de mejorar la eficiencia de los sistemas de distribución. Este enfoque, que probablemente redundará en Show MoreEn 1993, la Oficina Regional de Asia Meridional puso en marcha una nueva estrategia para ayudar al sector energético de la India que promovía la reforma estructural de las entidades estatales reguladoras de la electricidad y la concesión de préstamos con el único objetivo de mejorar la eficiencia de los sistemas de distribución. Este enfoque, que probablemente redundará en beneficios sustanciales para los consumidores, resulta fundamental para los objetivos de desarrollo de la India y está ayudando a rehabilitar un sector sumamente debilitado. Se han utilizado de manera eficaz los recursos del Banco y se han movilizado otros procedentes del sector privado. Se están efectuando profundos cambios institucionales, por lo que los riesgos son altos, pero dado que el país se identifica con el proceso, el DEO califica como probable la sostenibilidad de las reformas.

Innovating Evaluation in Multilateral and Bilateral Agencies:

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Innovating Evaluation in Multilateral and Bilateral Agencies Dealing with operational challenges during the COVID-19 crisis
Dealing with operational challenges during the COVID-19 crisis.Dealing with operational challenges during the COVID-19 crisis.

Desarrollo de la capacidad africana de seguimiento y evaluación

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Los participantes en el Seminario y taller sobre el desarrollo de la capacidad africana de evaluación, celebrado en Johannesburgo en 2000, concluyeron que un buen sistema de gobierno, respaldado por el seguimiento y la evaluación, es fundamental para el creci-miento rápido y sostenido de África. Las diversas prioridades convergentes de toda reforma de las políticas públicas - Show MoreLos participantes en el Seminario y taller sobre el desarrollo de la capacidad africana de evaluación, celebrado en Johannesburgo en 2000, concluyeron que un buen sistema de gobierno, respaldado por el seguimiento y la evaluación, es fundamental para el creci-miento rápido y sostenido de África. Las diversas prioridades convergentes de toda reforma de las políticas públicas - reducir la co-rrupción, fortalecer a la sociedad civil y disminuir la pobreza - exigen un análisis sólido que se sustente en una información adecuada. Cada vez es mayor la demanda de seguimiento y evaluación y de los beneficios de formar parte de las redes regionales de evaluación para mejorar las perspectivas africanas sobre el desarrollo y la evaluación. En el con-tinente africano hay conocimientos prácticos y experiencia en el terreno de la evaluación, pero son insuficientes. El desafío consiste en ampliar la oferta de métodos de evaluación, conseguir el control local del seguimiento y la evaluación, y vincularlos con otros procesos nacionales de desarrollo.

Early-Stage Evaluation of the International Development Association's Sustainable Development Finance Policy (Approach Paper)

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IEG is undertaking an early stage evaluation of Sustainable Development Finance Policy (SDFP) of the International Development Association (IDA), which came into effect on July 1, 2020. The SDFP, adopted in response to concern with mounting external public debt vulnerabilities in IDA-eligible countries, seeks to create incentives to strengthen country-level debt transparency, enhance fiscal Show MoreIEG is undertaking an early stage evaluation of Sustainable Development Finance Policy (SDFP) of the International Development Association (IDA), which came into effect on July 1, 2020. The SDFP, adopted in response to concern with mounting external public debt vulnerabilities in IDA-eligible countries, seeks to create incentives to strengthen country-level debt transparency, enhance fiscal sustainability, and strengthen debt management. In light of significant past efforts to restore debt sustainability to heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs), including through large scale bilateral and multilateral debt relief, the World Bank Board’s Committee on Development Effectiveness seeks early feedback from implementation of the SFDP to identify lessons to enhance its effectiveness. IEG will assess the relevance of the SDFP in addressing the sharp rise in debt stress in many IDA-eligible countries as well as the early implementation of the policy.

Renforcer les capacités de suivi et d'évaluation en Afrique

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Une bonne gouvernance, qui s'appuie sur des activités de suivi et d'évaluation, est essentielle au développement durable et rapide de l'Afrique. Telle est la conclusion tirée par les participants aux journées d'étude sur le renforcement des capacités d'évaluation en Afrique qui se sont tenues à Johannesburg en 2000. La réforme des politiques publiques autour de Show MoreUne bonne gouvernance, qui s'appuie sur des activités de suivi et d'évaluation, est essentielle au développement durable et rapide de l'Afrique. Telle est la conclusion tirée par les participants aux journées d'étude sur le renforcement des capacités d'évaluation en Afrique qui se sont tenues à Johannesburg en 2000. La réforme des politiques publiques autour de plusieurs priorités convergentes, à savoir combattre la corruption, renforcer la société civile et résorber la pauvreté, doit s'appuyer sur de solides travaux d'analyse réalisés à partir de données adéquates. La demande d'activités de suivi et d'évaluation augmente, de même que la volonté de mettre à profit les contacts établis au sein d'une communauté régionale de spécialistes de l'évaluation pour définir des perspectives africaines sur le développement et l'évaluation. Le continent africain n'est pas dépourvu de compétences ni d'expérience en la matière, mais ces ressources sont rares. Il s'agit de développer l'offre de savoir-faire dans ce domaine, de veiller à ce que les pays contrôlent les mécanismes de suivi et d'évaluation et de relier ces mécanismes aux autres processus de développement national.

Les enfants pauvres et l'école : le modèle chilien

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L'essor économique du Chili (le revenu était de 4 820 dollars par habitant en 1997), l'éducation primaire universelle, la stabilité politique, et la rareté des catastrophes naturelles et autres sinistres ont eu des effets positifs sur les écoles du pays. Les municipalités ont les moyens et le pouvoir de superviser les enseignants, de leur offrir des traitements convenables et Show MoreL'essor économique du Chili (le revenu était de 4 820 dollars par habitant en 1997), l'éducation primaire universelle, la stabilité politique, et la rareté des catastrophes naturelles et autres sinistres ont eu des effets positifs sur les écoles du pays. Les municipalités ont les moyens et le pouvoir de superviser les enseignants, de leur offrir des traitements convenables et d'assurer le bon fonctionnement des établissements. Les autorités se sont par ailleurs beaucoup intéressées aux aspects psychoaffectifs et cognitifs de l'apprentissage des élèves.

Social Funds: Assessing Effectiveness

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This study is the first independent evaluation of social fund projects by OED. It reviews the development effectiveness of social fund projects and draws implications for future Bank support to them. It responds to the interest of the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors for an independent evalua-tion of this fast-expanding portfolio. The review is based on an examination of existing data Show MoreThis study is the first independent evaluation of social fund projects by OED. It reviews the development effectiveness of social fund projects and draws implications for future Bank support to them. It responds to the interest of the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors for an independent evalua-tion of this fast-expanding portfolio. The review is based on an examination of existing data and literature, and brings to bear new information relating to the participatory process in social fund projects and their institutional development impacts at the government, nongovernment, and community levels.