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What have we learned about job creation and fisheries projects?

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Residents dry thousands of tiny fish in the sunlight in Jamestown Fishing Village in Accra, Ghana on October 11, 2015. Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank
This blog is part of a two-part series based on the results of a Learning Engagement focused on ways to increase the contribution of World Bank crop agriculture and fisheries projects to job creation and economic transformation. Learning Engagements are a collaboration between the Independent Evaluation Group and World Bank Group staff, aimed at maximizing learning from existing evidence to fill Show MoreThis blog is part of a two-part series based on the results of a Learning Engagement focused on ways to increase the contribution of World Bank crop agriculture and fisheries projects to job creation and economic transformation. Learning Engagements are a collaboration between the Independent Evaluation Group and World Bank Group staff, aimed at maximizing learning from existing evidence to fill in knowledge gaps, improve performance and ultimately deliver better development outcomes.

What have we learned about job creation in crop agriculture?

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Woman holding crop of peanuts. Mali. Photo: Ray Witlin / World Bank
This blog is part of a two-part series based on the results of a Learning Engagement focused on ways to increase the contribution of World Bank crop agriculture and fisheries projects to job creation and economic transformation. Learning Engagements are a collaboration between the Independent Evaluation Group and World Bank Group staff, aimed at maximizing learning from existing evidence to fill Show MoreThis blog is part of a two-part series based on the results of a Learning Engagement focused on ways to increase the contribution of World Bank crop agriculture and fisheries projects to job creation and economic transformation. Learning Engagements are a collaboration between the Independent Evaluation Group and World Bank Group staff, aimed at maximizing learning from existing evidence to fill in knowledge gaps, improve performance and ultimately deliver better development outcomes.

Sustainable Diversification of Agrifood Economies – Insights and Lessons

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A man surrounded by vegetables and greens at his place at Indian Bazaar. A mix of colors and textures. Captured in India, Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi.
Public support for agriculture has historically been directed towards the production of staple foods, such as rice and wheat, or export commodities. In many developing countries, this often creates an uneven playing field for producers, who are left with limited possibilities to diversify into locally-adapted and more nutritious products that do not receive public support, but for which there is Show MorePublic support for agriculture has historically been directed towards the production of staple foods, such as rice and wheat, or export commodities. In many developing countries, this often creates an uneven playing field for producers, who are left with limited possibilities to diversify into locally-adapted and more nutritious products that do not receive public support, but for which there is demand. While the World Bank Group has long supported efforts to increase the productivity and diversification of agrifood economies, a recent evaluation by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of this support over ten years (2010-20) found that it is insufficiently spread to support diversification toward such products. This blog summarizes the main findings and lessons for increasing diversification of agrifood systems in ways that are more sustainable and inclusive. Challenges to diversification In an effort to enhance national food security, governments often provide support for agriculture which can affect production and marketing decisions. This may include preferential investments in research and development, input subsidies, price support, and assured prices for certain commodities. When most public support is going to a few favored staple commodities, producers lack incentives to increase the production of products that do not benefit from large support, such as fruits, vegetables, pulses, dryland cereals, and livestock. This can be the case even when consumer demand is increasing and when expanding the production of undersupplied foods could generate high social benefits. For example, India’s public support to agriculture since the Green Revolution has emphasized production and marketing of staple cereals; public procurement is largely limited to paddy (rice) and wheat produced in few states although recent policies aim to provide price support for more diverse food crops. Diversifying into more nutritious and undersupplied products is essential to meet the growing demand for affordable healthy diets, including fruits and vegetables. It can also provide higher incomes and help smallholders be more market-oriented in their approach to production. To be sustainable, such diversification needs to be underpinned by climate-smart approaches that reduce the environmental footprints by making efficient use of resources, such as land and water, and by protecting biodiversity. Several recent interventions from the World Bank have aimed to increase diversification to high value products but more effort is needed. In Uzbekistan, for example, the Bank is supporting a shift from cotton and wheat toward more diversified systems that are resilient to climate shocks. Cotton and wheat consumed 72% of arable land and 90% of irrigation water and agricultural public expenditures but generated only 23% of total agricultural output. In the Gambia, the Commercial Agriculture and Value Chain project supported rice, vegetables and fruit (mango) value chains. The World Bank’s support contributes to national food security but has not been sufficiently spread to support diversification towards higher-value and more nutritious products that are often undersupplied. While Bank financing for agriculture has contributed to strengthening national food security, more can be achieved in supporting diversification beyond key staples and livestock. Only about 4% of the World Bank’s product-targeted projects supported the production of fruits and vegetables and 11% supported food legumes. Similarly, most of the Bank’s support for livestock production focused on dairy (27%) and fish (34%). Only about 3% of livestock projects explicitly supported production of small ruminants (sheep and goats) that offer income-generating opportunities for low-income households in rainfed and drought-prone environments. Lessons for supporting sustainable diversification The World Bank’s support for diversification towards high value products has been particularly challenging in less favorable areas. These areas include drought-prone rainfed areas without adequate irrigation systems or have limited access to markets and services. In addition to addressing these constraints, success in supporting diversification toward undersupplied and higher-value products will require the following: Access to finance: Access to finance is a key driver of production of high value commodities. Farmers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can invest in inputs and technologies when they have access to credit at the amounts that they need and at rates they can afford. When financing is limited, matching grants can be used to facilitate investments in critical inputs and processes. For example, Vietnam’s Livestock Competitiveness and Food Safety project (LIFSAP) provided matching grants to farmer groups for investments in good animal husbandry practices, including waste treatment facilities and construction of over 17,000 biogas digesters to reduce methane emissions. Support to poultry and pig farmers strengthened links with buyers, increasing their incomes, and facilitating diversification into more sustainable livestock production. Food safety and quality standards: The World Bank has supported several interventions to strengthen food safety and quality standards, allowing farms and firms to produce high value and perishable commodities. For example, Vietnam’s LIFSAP project supported the upgrading and improvement of 370 slaughterhouses and 572 meat markets. This promoted adoption of food safety and waste management practices of animal production, processing, and marketing facilities. LIFASP also helped build the capacity of poultry and pig farmers, and slaughterhouses and traders operating in wet markets. This supported the strengthening of institutions that helped towards better delivery of veterinary services and modernization of food safety standards. Similarly, Montenegro’s Institutional Development and Agriculture Strengthening Project (IDASP) provided financing and helped build the capacity of eligible farmers and agro-processors to strengthen food safety standards and meet the European Union pre-accession requirements. Production and market infrastructure: Complementary investments in market infrastructure and equipment, such as collection points, warehousing, cold storage, and transport, are particularly important to diversify production into perishable high-value products. In India, the National Dairy Support Project (NDSP) supported small-scale dairy farmers and cooperatives and built village-based milk procurement systems with milk-quality testing. These interventions allowed small-scale farmers to participate in more lucrative, organized dairy value chains, increase milk prices, and reduce wastage. The project complemented this by helping build the capacity of the farmers and providing them better access to technologies and services to increase their productivity. This also included digital innovations that reduced costs and helped provide optimal information and services to users. Enabling policy environment: Diversification into high value products requires the right policy environment, including enforceable laws and regulations. In more advanced economies agriculture historically benefits from substantial public support, costing about US$640 billion per year worldwide, generating hidden social and environmental costs. In order to reduce these latent costs and create a level playing field for producers, there is merit in repurposing these biased policies to support the development of green, resilient, and inclusive agrifood economies. This also includes sustainable diversification into high value products that generate multiple social and environmental benefits. Such smart-repurposing could provide win-win solutions for reducing poverty (SDG1), improving food security, and reducing the cost of healthy diets (SDG2), while reducingglobal emissions for mitigating climate change (SDG13) and generating other social and environmental benefits. Re-aligning incentives would require: (a) removing policies that are biased against diversification that provides multiple benefits; and (b) removing restrictions on land use tied to specific crops to allow diversification (example through multiple cropping or rotations). The above lessons are valuable in supporting clients in diversifying into high-value and more nutritious products in ways that are sustainable and inclusive of small producers and value chain actors. This can also help find viable solutions to address the growing challenges for improving global food and nutrition security See also: Building inclusive, productive, and sustainable agrifood systems | Complementary Interventions for Agrifood System Development – Insights and Lessons

Evaluation of World Bank Group Support to Creating an Enabling Environment for Private Sector Participation in Climate Action, Fiscal Years 2013–22 (Approach Paper)

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The objective of the evaluation is to derive lessons from Bank Group experience in improving the enabling environment for private sector participation in climate action. The evaluation will assess the relevance and effectiveness of Bank Group support to enabling private sector participation in climate action, including the drivers that led to positive results. It aims to identify lessons Show MoreThe objective of the evaluation is to derive lessons from Bank Group experience in improving the enabling environment for private sector participation in climate action. The evaluation will assess the relevance and effectiveness of Bank Group support to enabling private sector participation in climate action, including the drivers that led to positive results. It aims to identify lessons applicable to the World Bank, IFC, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) by obtaining evidence-based findings on what works, why, and for whom. Such lessons can inform the implementation of the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) 2021 and subsequent Bank Group activities. The focus on the enabling environment has been chosen because researchers, policy makers, and climate action practitioners realized that creating an enabling environment is a key priority for the private sector to engage in climate action. The need to enhance the enabling environment for private sector participation in climate action is critical to meet the trillions in investments needed to address climate change and achieve Paris Agreement goals.

Complementary Interventions for Agrifood System Development – Insights and Lessons

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Farmer feeding chickens in the farm.
Agrifood systems are key towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending hunger and malnutrition, poverty, and addressing climate change. Yet, despite their importance, agrifood systems face multiple challenges, including low productivity, inadequate market access for small farmers and producers particularly in low-income countries (LICs) and vulnerability to climate change Show MoreAgrifood systems are key towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending hunger and malnutrition, poverty, and addressing climate change. Yet, despite their importance, agrifood systems face multiple challenges, including low productivity, inadequate market access for small farmers and producers particularly in low-income countries (LICs) and vulnerability to climate change. The World Bank Group aims to address these challenges through holistic interventions that increase the productivity, inclusion, and sustainability of agrifood systems. A recent evaluation by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group’s support for agrifood system development over ten years (2010-20) found that when market access is constrained, complementary interventions that pair support for enhancing sustainable production on the supply-side with that to improve market access on the demand-side can increase productivity and the overall effectiveness of interventions.    Low productivity remains a  major challenge for small farmers, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. For example, staple crop productivity in sub-Saharan Africa and LICs is about one-third of the level in upper-middle-income countries. Smallholders and small producers, especially in LICs find it challenging to increase productivity because of their limited access to markets, including agri-finance to invest in modern inputs and technologies. Low yields and weak market integration lead to fragmentation of production, low incomes, food insecurity, and pervasive poverty. When markets are underdeveloped and poorly integrated, low productivity also leads to higher food prices which, in turn, leads to a high cost of living for the rural and urban poor. Underdeveloped markets perpetuate subsistence production and undermine the ability of producers to respond to market signals or diversify production into higher value products with growing demand – limiting opportunities for inclusive growth in the rural sector.   Complementary interventions that helped increase productivity included access to finance to buy better inputs, such as fertilizers and feed, invest in small-scale irrigation and farm equipment, or in new technologies, such as improved seeds or crossbred cows.  It also included improved access to services (e.g., extension in the form of knowledge, research, or technology support such as artificial insemination or provision of market information), and support to improve access to and participation in markets and value chains. Investing in sustainable irrigation and productive climate-smart practices helped amplify these benefits to producers and increased productivity through higher yields and multiple harvests during the year. The evidence across countries showed that improving complementarity of supply and demand-side interventions was key to maximizing benefits from Bank Group interventions. Two examples from the evaluation illustrate the significance of complementary interventions. In the first example, the Ethiopia Agricultural Growth Project (AGP I) supported farmers using a complementary approach. The project helped them access crop and livestock technologies, and climate-smart practices, including small-scale irrigation. It also helped them access markets for their produce. The project supported improved irrigation on over 10,000 hectares of farmland and increased the marketed surplus of crops that benefited more than 58,000 farmers, including over 12,000 women and 6,000 young people. In the second example, the Malawi Irrigation, Rural Livelihoods, and Agricultural Development Project focused on supply- side interventions and had a limited impact on productivity. Smallholder farmers struggled to find sustainable market outlets for their maize and rice produce, leading to greater volatility in producer prices. As a result, while productivity of both maize and rice improved initially, it stagnated or became more volatile over time. Supply side interventions may succeed when market access is not constrained. For example, the Integrated Agricultural Productivity Project in Bangladesh helped increase productivity by supporting technology development and adaptation, including improved practices for conserving water and making irrigation more efficient. The project helped build the capacity of farmers and provided extension support, which led to adoption of better varieties of crops, livestock, and fish breeds. The improved technologies benefited about 51,000 farmers. Milk productivity more than doubled, milk consumption increased by 96 percent, milk sales increased fourfold, and milk sales earnings increased fivefold. The interventions significantly increased the seasonal earnings of beneficiary farmers from sale of crops, thereby, enhancing inclusion. The project also improved sustainability by putting over 27,000 hectares under better irrigation practices. Producer organizations play a key role in improving the access of smallholder farmers to markets and services by connecting them with other input providers and more organized buyers. Producer organizations come in several forms, such as common interest groups and cooperatives in Kenya and Ethiopia, farmer groups in productive alliances in Peru and Bolivia, and dairy and livestock cooperatives in India and Vietnam. IEG also found that most projects that aimed to increase inclusion also supported such producer organizations to help farmers access inputs, technologies, services, and markets. Strengthening the capacity of producer groups for better targeting and inclusion also increased the participation of women and youth. Making the transition from informal groups into producer cooperatives or enterprises can, however, be more challenging for producers, who are engaged in low-value commodities.  In Kenya, only about one-third of the newly established cooperatives supported by the Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project were active after the project closed, except for the few involved in high value products such as dairy. Similarly, in Ethiopia the newly established cooperatives were more successful when they were able to connect with processors and were able to benefit from value chains.   When farmer groups face multiple challenges to succeed in accessing markets, timely support to help them transition to producer cooperatives and enterprises can be effective. IEG found that the Ethiopia Agricultural Growth Project helped connect three producer groups – Guguma Buraro, Guguma Buko, and Guguma Wube – in Meliga woreda in Oromia region - with the Assela Malt Factory. This provided the groups an incentive to invest in inputs and increase their productivity. Their supply of malt barely increased by over ten-fold from 62 tons in 2015 to 730 tons in 2017. This allowed the groups to become formal producer cooperatives and expand their access to finance and services. Targeting bottlenecks on both the supply (production) and demand (market) sides of the malt barley value chain, facilitated the transition from informal groups into market-oriented producer cooperatives. The above lessons can help the World Bank Group better support its clients in addressing the challenges of low yields, weak market access and inadequate integration of smallholder production into markets and value chains which often leads to low productivity. Providing complementary support is vital in transitioning toward more productive, inclusive, and sustainable agrifood systems and can contribute to finding viable solutions to the current global food crisis. See also: Building inclusive, productive, and sustainable agrifood systems

Building inclusive, productive, and sustainable agrifood systems

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Fruits and vegetables at the local market in India.
Well-functioning agrifood systems play an important role in increasing food and nutrition security, reducing poverty, especially in low-income countries (LICs), and meeting climate and environment goals for sustainable development. They are especially important now in the face of rising prices and food insecurity. The World Bank Group uses a variety of instruments to help develop effective Show MoreWell-functioning agrifood systems play an important role in increasing food and nutrition security, reducing poverty, especially in low-income countries (LICs), and meeting climate and environment goals for sustainable development. They are especially important now in the face of rising prices and food insecurity. The World Bank Group uses a variety of instruments to help develop effective agrifood systems, so they are more productive, inclusive, and sustainable. A new evaluation from the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) looks at a decade’s worth of Bank Group support for agrifood system development and identifies lessons for the future. Agrifood systems comprise three components: the actors involved in the agriculture sector, the activities that these actors engage in, and the larger enabling environment. The actors cover the full range from farmers, agribusiness firms, processors, distributors to consumers. The enabling environment includes the policies, standards, and investments that affect sustainable production and market access. IEG’s report finds that the Bank Group’s interventions in developing agrifood systems in the period between 2010 and 2020 were broadly relevant. But, gaps remain in scaling up and better targeting support to countries that need it the most. The report also found that the interventions were effective overall in improving the productivity, inclusion, and sustainability of agrifood systems. However, this was less so in LICs, particularly in West and Central Africa. This was partly because of the limited capacity, climate shocks, and other challenges that these countries face, especially those in fragile, conflict, and post-conflict situations. In addition, World Bank support for improving productivity was insufficiently diversified toward higher-value products that offer multiple benefits. The agribusiness investments of the Bank Group’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), faced challenges in meeting environmental and social (E&S) standards, especially in LICs. The report offers the following recommendations: Combining production and market approaches: Production activities are poorly integrated with markets in many countries, especially LICs and countries at early stage of agrifood system development. Many LICs experience low agricultural productivity, which undercuts their efforts to reduce poverty and improve food security. Given their low productivity and limited access to markets and value chains, smallholders, and small producers in LICs remain poor and vulnerable to various shocks. Many of them struggle to shift from semi-subsistence agriculture to more market‐oriented agrifood enterprises. The Bank Group can help reduce this weak market integration and fragmentation of smallholder production by exploring synergies between interventions that aim to support production activities with those that aim to support improved market access of producers. Interventions aimed at supporting production, i.e., on the supply-side, include improvements to technology, innovations including of digital technologies, delivery of inputs, and irrigation systems. Support for increasing market access, i.e., on the demand-side, includes identifying buyers, developing the needed market infrastructure (for example, storage and aggregation, logistics and cold chains) and facilitating value-chain linkages between smallholder farmers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with potential buyers in local, regional, and global markets. Access to finance is also key for supporting both production and marketing activities of farms and SME firms. Such a mix of supply and demand-side interventions is particularly important for LICs and countries at early-stage of agrifood system development. The Bank Group can pursue such a  combined approach through multiple avenues, including leveraging synergies across the Bank Group using parallel or sequenced interventions, through partnerships with other agencies, or through coordinated client actions. Diversifying production and cultivating behavioral changes towards sustainable practices and standards: Where conditions allow, the Bank Group should support farmers and agribusiness firms in diversifying their production to also include high-value and more nutritious food products, such as fruit trees, vegetables, food legumes, fish, poultry, and livestock in addition to the traditional staples. Sustainable diversification should benefit smallholder farmers and SMEs, who often find it challenging to diversify their production or agribusiness to include high-value products. This will not only increase their agricultural productivity, but also provide nutritious foods that currently remain undersupplied or largely unaffordable to low-income consumers. Supporting the successful production and marketing of such products will require the Bank Group to provide adequate financing and help producers pay attention to food safety and quality standards so that they can access competitive, regional and global markets. At the same time, it will be important to ensure that the Bank Group also supports farmers and agribusiness firms in adopting sustainability practices. The Bank Group should encourage producers and value-chain actors to adopt climate-smart practices that use less resources, such as land and water, maintain biodiversity, and reduce environmental footprints. Supporting Environmental and Social (E&S) Performance Standards in private sector investments: For private sector investments in agrifood systems supported by the IFC, the report found that when clients possessed the capacity and commitment to address E&S issues, or received support from IFC to do so, there was greater progress in improving their performance on E&S. Clients in LICs, especially, need assistance on recurring challenges (such as in wastewater management and occupational health and safety) and to support the implementation of E&S action plans and the Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines. IFC could support these clients through loan covenants, tailored advisory services, or blended finance. The above lessons will help the World Bank Group better support its clients in developing agrifood systems that are more productive, inclusive, and sustainable and that can contribute to addressing the current global food crisis. See also: Complementary Interventions for Agrifood System Development – Insights and Lessons

Toward Productive, Inclusive, and Sustainable Farms and Agribusiness Firms

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Toward Productive, Inclusive, and Sustainable Farms and Agribusiness Firms: An Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Support for the Development of Agrifood Economies (2010–20)
This report assesses the relevance and effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s support to its clients on helping them develop more productive, inclusive, and sustainable farms and agribusiness firms. This report assesses the relevance and effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s support to its clients on helping them develop more productive, inclusive, and sustainable farms and agribusiness firms.

The Natural Resource Degradation and Vulnerability Nexus:

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The Natural Resource Degradation and Vulnerability Nexus:
This evaluation assesses how well the World Bank has addressed natural resource degradation to reduce the vulnerabilities of resource-dependent people. This evaluation assesses how well the World Bank has addressed natural resource degradation to reduce the vulnerabilities of resource-dependent people.

Jamaica: Hurricane Dean Emergency Recovery Loan (PPAR)

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Jamaica is highly exposed to natural disasters. The negative impacts on economic development and social well-being are exacerbated as approximately 82 percent of Jamaica’s population lives within 5 kilometers of the coast, increasing the relative vulnerability of residents, major infrastructure, and the housing stock. Hurricane Dean made landfall in Jamaica on August 19, 2007, causing economic Show MoreJamaica is highly exposed to natural disasters. The negative impacts on economic development and social well-being are exacerbated as approximately 82 percent of Jamaica’s population lives within 5 kilometers of the coast, increasing the relative vulnerability of residents, major infrastructure, and the housing stock. Hurricane Dean made landfall in Jamaica on August 19, 2007, causing economic losses of roughly $329 million. The hurricane resulted in significant and extensive damage to primary and early childhood schools, community-based health clinics, and parochial and agricultural feeder roads in directly impacted parishes. In the aftermath of the hurricane, Jamaica’s Ministry of Finance confirmed that the recovery would require financial support from multiple sources, both national and international. In that context, the government of Jamaica approached the World Bank to support reconstruction works in poor communities affected by Hurricane Dean. The general aim was the reestablishment of prehurricane living conditions in these communities through the implementation of specific local infrastructure projects that would directly improve the conditions of the most vulnerable populations. Given the ongoing emergency, the World Bank and the government of Jamaica agreed to sign an emergency recovery loan to expedite the disbursement of resources. Additionally, the World Bank and the government of Jamaica agreed that the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) would be the implementing agency. Ratings for the Hurricane Dean Emergency Recovery Loan are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome was moderate, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Borrower performance was satisfactory. Lessons from this project include: (i) Using existing agencies with a proven track record can be an effective approach for implementing emergency response projects. (ii) When designing rehabilitation works, close consultation with users can ensure the provision of better services. (iii) Expectations need to be managed as there are limits to how much progress can be made on disaster risk reduction or emergency preparedness under an emergency operation.

Sierra Leone - Completion and Learning Report : IEG Review

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This is a validation of the Completion and Learning Review (CLR) for the World Bank Group’s (WBG) engagement in Sierra Leone covering the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS, FY10-FY13). For completeness and learning purposes, and while the CAS formally expired in FY13, IEG has elected to examine the period FY14-FY19 as well as no CPF was in place to replace the CAS. Owing to data limitations and in Show MoreThis is a validation of the Completion and Learning Review (CLR) for the World Bank Group’s (WBG) engagement in Sierra Leone covering the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS, FY10-FY13). For completeness and learning purposes, and while the CAS formally expired in FY13, IEG has elected to examine the period FY14-FY19 as well as no CPF was in place to replace the CAS. Owing to data limitations and in line with relevant provisions of the Working Arrangements between the Independent Evaluation Group and WBG, IEG’s review does not rate the CAS’s overall development outcome or the World Bank Group’s performance.