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Guinea: Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Project (PPAR)

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At the time of project appraisal, agriculture and mining were the main sources of economic growth in Guinea. The country’s mining sector contributed 20 to 25 percent of government revenues. However, Guinea’s economic performance was not proportionate with its natural resource endowment, since agriculture and mining performed modestly. After years of instability, Guinea’s first democratically Show MoreAt the time of project appraisal, agriculture and mining were the main sources of economic growth in Guinea. The country’s mining sector contributed 20 to 25 percent of government revenues. However, Guinea’s economic performance was not proportionate with its natural resource endowment, since agriculture and mining performed modestly. After years of instability, Guinea’s first democratically elected president assumed power in December 2010. Although the political transition was difficult, macroeconomic stability was restored, and debt sustainability dramatically improved with the attainment of the highly indebted poor countries completion point in September 2012. However, the private sector in Guinea was not able to contribute enough to growth and help realize the country’s potential because of several underlying constraints: weak legal and regulatory environment for paying taxes and protecting investors; weak access to finance; low human capital; weak governance; and weak infrastructure. The Guinea Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development Project (P128443) was approved on January 28, 2013, restructured on February 2, 2016, and closed as scheduled on December 31, 2017. The project was financed by a credit from the International Development Association for $10 million. The objective of the project was to support the development of MSMEs in various value chains and to improve business processes of Guinea’s investment climate. Ratings for this project are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficacy was modest, Bank performance was unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) For effective public-private dialogue it is crucial to have (a) a champion at the highest government level who can bring the public and private sector together to identify and implement business environment reforms; and (b) agreement among various private sector associations to identify a private sector representative who can lead the dialogue on their behalf. (ii) Projects should include measures to ensure sustainability of support centers that provide capacity building to MSMEs after project closing. (iii) Design and implementation of credit registries should be based on international best practice standards. (iv) Integrating a rigorous impact assessment into the design of World Bank projects supporting MSMEs would help discern the causal effects of project interventions on MSME development.

Benin: Ninth and Tenth Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PPAR)

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Benin was a low-income country with a gross domestic product per capita of $1,291 at the time of preparation of the Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) 9 and 10 series in 2014. Its economy was driven by agricultural production (of cotton in particular) and reexport and transit trade with Nigeria. As a result, Benin’s economy was vulnerable to trade policy changes or economic downturns in Show MoreBenin was a low-income country with a gross domestic product per capita of $1,291 at the time of preparation of the Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) 9 and 10 series in 2014. Its economy was driven by agricultural production (of cotton in particular) and reexport and transit trade with Nigeria. As a result, Benin’s economy was vulnerable to trade policy changes or economic downturns in Nigeria. The development objectives of this series were to: (i) promote good governance and high-quality public financial management, and (ii) strengthen private sector competitiveness. Ratings for the Ninth and Tenth Poverty Reduction Support Credit project are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Risk to development outcome was substantial, Bank performance was unsatisfactory, and Borrower performance was not applicable. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) Relevant lessons from previous operations need to be taken on board when designing new DPF operations. (ii) Prior actions need to be substantive, that is, be critical to reforms with value added. (iii) The World Bank should design projects with a clear understanding of the likely “winners and losers;” failure to do this makes it more likely that projects will not be implemented as planned or sustained over time. (iv) Distributional impact analysis from DPF-supported reforms should inform the design of operations.

Early Evaluation of the World Bank’s COVID-19 Response to Save Lives and Protect Poor and Vulnerable People (Approach Paper)

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Disrupting billions of lives and livelihoods, the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic jeopardizes countries’ development gains and goals on an unprecedented scale. Restoring human capital and maintaining progress on development priorities depends on successfully containing and mitigating the effects of the pandemic, especially its toll on poor and vulnerable people. This Independent Evaluation Group Show MoreDisrupting billions of lives and livelihoods, the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic jeopardizes countries’ development gains and goals on an unprecedented scale. Restoring human capital and maintaining progress on development priorities depends on successfully containing and mitigating the effects of the pandemic, especially its toll on poor and vulnerable people. This Independent Evaluation Group evaluation will assess the World Bank’s early portfolio of COVID-19 support aimed at saving lives, protecting poor and vulnerable people, and strengthening institutions in these areas. The evaluation has one overarching question: What has been the quality of the World Bank’s early COVID-19 response in terms of saving lives and protecting poor and vulnerable people? The evaluation will conduct multilevel analyses, anchored at the country level, to triangulate evidence for early learning from the implementation of the World Bank’s support.

The Drive for Financial Inclusion: Lessons of World Bank Group Experience – Approach Paper

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Financial inclusion is expected to help address poverty and shared prosperity by improving and smoothing household incomes at the same time as reducing vulnerability to shocks, improving investments in education and health, and encouraging the growth of businesses and related employment. The poor face immense financial challenges. The income of the poor is not only lower but also more volatile. Show MoreFinancial inclusion is expected to help address poverty and shared prosperity by improving and smoothing household incomes at the same time as reducing vulnerability to shocks, improving investments in education and health, and encouraging the growth of businesses and related employment. The poor face immense financial challenges. The income of the poor is not only lower but also more volatile. They often rely on a range of unpredictable jobs or on weather-dependent agriculture. Transforming irregular income flows into a dependable resource to meet daily needs represents a crucial challenge for the poor. Another challenge lies in meeting costs if a major expense arises (such as a home repair, medical service, or funeral) or if a breadwinner falls ill. Savings, credit, insurance, and remittances can each help the poor to smooth volatile incomes and expenses, providing a margin of safety when income drops or expenses rise, or providing the needed funds for children’s education or health care. Additionally, financial inclusion in the form of financial services for microentrepreneurs and very small enterprises has been guided by the intention that it can help them to survive, grow, and generate income for the poor. Nonetheless, evidence that financial inclusion directly takes people out of poverty is mixed. The main objective of this evaluation is to enhance learning from the Bank Group’s experience, including the World Bank, IFC, and MIGA, in supporting client countries in their efforts to advance financial inclusion over the period of FY14–20. It both updates and expands on a 2015 IEG evaluation, which assessed Bank Group activity for FY07–13. It not only updates an evaluation of WBG activity in financial inclusion and in support of national financial inclusion strategies, but also plans for a deep focus on the following: (i) A retrospective look at the drive for universal financial access (the UFA 2020 initiative), including outcomes achieved in its 25 focus countries; (ii) Progress and challenges in women’s access to financial services (gender); (iii) An in-depth examination of digital financial inclusion efforts and the role of digital financial services as vehicles for financial inclusion. This work intends to focus more deeply on outcomes on the ground for poor households and microenterprises. It intends to understand the relevance and effectiveness of these activities, including the outcomes and the mechanisms by which observed outcomes were achieved. The evaluation aims to identify lessons applicable to the World Bank, IFC or MIGA by obtaining evidence-based findings of what works, why, and for whom.

Madagascar: Third Environment Program Support Project (PPAR)

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The closure of the Third Environment Program Support Project (EP3) brought an end to the World Bank’s programmatic series of loans to implement the Madagascar National Environmental Action Program (NEAP). The Madagascar NEAP—implemented between 1990 and 2015—aimed to “reconcile the population with its environment to achieve sustainable development” by simultaneously conserving the country’s Show MoreThe closure of the Third Environment Program Support Project (EP3) brought an end to the World Bank’s programmatic series of loans to implement the Madagascar National Environmental Action Program (NEAP). The Madagascar NEAP—implemented between 1990 and 2015—aimed to “reconcile the population with its environment to achieve sustainable development” by simultaneously conserving the country’s critical biodiversity and improving the livelihoods of local communities dependent on natural resources. The World Bank’s programmatic series of loans to implement the NEAP is considered a flagship program because of the focus on its long-term objective of biodiversity conservation, depth of financing, innovations introduced, and the convening role played by the World Bank in coordinating donor support. This evaluation focuses on the overall effectiveness of EP3’s simplified and revised objectives and outcomes regarding improved biodiversity conservation and livelihoods. In particular, the PPAR focuses on EP3’s support for the establishment or extension of PAs to reduce deforestation. It tests the project assumptions that the critical PAs supported by the project can reduce deforestation. The PPAR also assesses how the EP3 supported communities through CDAs. Project ratings for the Third Environment Program Support Project are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficiency was modest, Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was negligible. The assessment offers the following lessons: (i) A project designed and implemented with a narrow focus on the protection of biodiversity resources without addressing the underlying human pressures on those resources is unlikely to achieve the long-term goal of biodiversity conservation. (ii) When PAs restrict the long-term access of rural households to forest resources that are indispensable for their livelihood, safeguard activities are inappropriate instruments for promoting the sustainable use of forest resources in the long term. (iii) Any intervention supporting the conservation of biodiversity in Madagascar is likely to be ineffective without complementary efforts to improve the policy environment that shapes incentives for sustainable biodiversity resource management. (iv) The overarching objective of a programmatic series to support higher-level development objectives around biodiversity conservation is undermined when design issues, such as overambition and complexity, persist across all projects in the series.

Doing Business Indicators and Country Reforms (Approach Paper)

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Doing Business is recognized as highly influential in business regulatory reform worldwide, and it is the most used set of indicators on business regulation. Its indicators are widely used and analyzed in the academic literature. They are a component of many other influential indexes, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Show MoreDoing Business is recognized as highly influential in business regulatory reform worldwide, and it is the most used set of indicators on business regulation. Its indicators are widely used and analyzed in the academic literature. They are a component of many other influential indexes, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom, and the Fraser Institute Economic Freedom Index. It is cited by many countries in their reform plans and in many World Bank Group project documents and country strategies. Although popular, the DB indicators have also been the subject of controversy regarding their methodology, accuracy, and potential biases and the way they are used in shaping and assessing country policy reforms. The Bank Group and the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) have been called on several times to review DB, largely to respond to such criticisms. In this report, IEG has committed to examine the relevance and effectiveness of the use of DB indicators in guiding client country business environment reforms—both those supported by the Bank Group and those undertaken without its support. This includes an initial stocktaking of literature and existing evaluative evidence to inform an Issues Paper, which will be followed by a Focused Evaluation to assess the DB’s strategic relevance to countries’ reform priorities and to the Bank Group’s strategic agenda. This request came just before the late-August 2020 suspension of the DB report to probe alleged irregularities in the underlying data.

Jamaica: Rural Economic Development Initiative (PPAR)

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The national poverty rate in Jamaica declined over the two decades prior to appraisal, but rural poverty remained stubbornly high. The Government of Jamaica recognized that if the country was to achieve its goal of “Developed World” status, as indicated in the Government’s Vision 2030 plan, economic development in rural areas needed to keep pace with that experienced in urban areas. In 2008, the Show MoreThe national poverty rate in Jamaica declined over the two decades prior to appraisal, but rural poverty remained stubbornly high. The Government of Jamaica recognized that if the country was to achieve its goal of “Developed World” status, as indicated in the Government’s Vision 2030 plan, economic development in rural areas needed to keep pace with that experienced in urban areas. In 2008, the Government requested World Bank support for a project that would promote rural economic development and income generation by improving access to markets for small-holder farmers and by encouraging rural tourism development. Unusual among the Bank’s productive alliance projects, the present project sought to combine both agriculture and tourism, reflecting the unique circumstances of Jamaica’s rural landscape and the potential for agriculture to engage more with the tourism sector, a major contributor to foreign currency receipts. The Bank also determined that the rural agriculture and tourism sectors offered the most significant potential for rural growth and development. The resulting Bank project, the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), was designed to stimulate rural economic growth and increase rural incomes. Ratings for the Rural Economic Development Initiative are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was negligible. This assessment offers the following issues: (i) For complex productive alliance projects involving the selection of multiple rural subprojects and the introduction of new private-sector market concepts to rural communities, substantial investment to ensure project implementation readiness during project preparation can contribute to a faster and more effective project start. (ii) For productive alliance projects introducing modern technologies and new business management practices into rural populations, ensuring adequate skills and capacity in the implementing agencies will enhance the achievement of results. (iii) Technical assistance supporting private sector market approaches can be critical for linking rural agricultural and tourism operations to new and evolving markets.

Argentina: Basic Protection Project (PPAR)

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The Basic Protection Project was prepared in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, in the context of increased pressure to expand coverage and accessibility of Argentina’s social protection policies. The social protection system had historically been linked to the formal labor market through contributory schemes (pension benefits, unemployment insurance, family allowances, health and Show MoreThe Basic Protection Project was prepared in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, in the context of increased pressure to expand coverage and accessibility of Argentina’s social protection policies. The social protection system had historically been linked to the formal labor market through contributory schemes (pension benefits, unemployment insurance, family allowances, health and housing insurance coverage). Noncontributory programs—for children, the unemployed, and informal workers—were limited. The project aimed at strengthening and expanding Argentina’s social protection system by supporting expansion of coverage and improving the design of two income transfer programs for the unemployed and families with children. Ratings for this project are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome was low or negligible, Bank performance was satisfactory, and Borrower performance was moderately satisfactory. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) The choice of indicators is critical for incentives to be effective, especially when a short implementation time is expected; but the definition of some of the DLIs and the information used to determine their targets were not discussed in detail at appraisal. (ii) This PPAR had to clarify the understanding of “effectiveness,” as it was not made explicit in project documents. (iii) Institutional strengthening of the MTESS statistics area was an important additional aspect of the World Bank’s support, given the peculiar context in which this project was implemented.

Bhutan CLR Review FY15-19

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This review of the World Bank Group (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) FY15-19, as updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 8, 2017. Bhutan is a small, land-locked, lower middle-income country. Between 2015 and 2019 the annual real GDP growth has varied between 6.2 percent and 3.7 percent. The country’s Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) FY15-19, as updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 8, 2017. Bhutan is a small, land-locked, lower middle-income country. Between 2015 and 2019 the annual real GDP growth has varied between 6.2 percent and 3.7 percent. The country’s economic growth was bolstered in recent years by investments in hydropower. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is now only ten percent below the threshold for upper middle-income countries. Between 2007 and 2017 the poverty headcount ratio (measured at the US$3.20 poverty line in 2011 purchasing power parity terms) dropped from 36 to 12 percent of the population. The CPS noted that Bhutan needed to sustain macroeconomic stability while creating a business environment to promote private sector growth and job creation. The hydro-led growth had created some short-term macroeconomic imbalances, which called for careful management of fiscal and monetary policies. At the same time, it was critical to provide a better investment climate that would be more conducive to private sector development, diversification of the economy and job creation. Also, Bhutan’s large stock of natural capital called for increasing its sustainable contribution to the economy, while protecting the environment and human well-being. Related challenges included rapid urbanization, low agriculture productivity, limited infrastructure, difficult topography, and vulnerability to disaster and climate change. The 2020 Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) confirmed these development challenges.

Nigeria CLR Review FY14-19

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This review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the original period of the Nigeria Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-17, and the update and extension through FY19 as per the Second Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 2018. The implementation of the CPS program was supported by 26 Bank operations with commitments of US$3.7 billion under Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the original period of the Nigeria Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-17, and the update and extension through FY19 as per the Second Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 2018. The implementation of the CPS program was supported by 26 Bank operations with commitments of US$3.7 billion under implementation at the beginning of the CPS and 38 new operations with commitments of US$9.4 billion. IFC invested in 28 projects for US$1.1 billion. MIGA issued three guarantees for US$549 million. The CPS design was well aligned with the challenges the country faced and the stated priorities of government. It also responded well to the challenges that arose during implementation. The CLR drew five lessons. Three of the lessons are: (i) achieving significant impact requires commitment beyond the horizon of a CPS, especially in areas such as energy and conflict mitigation; (ii) it can be difficult to accurately gauge the success or failure of results-based operations since they do not respond to traditional Bank tools for measuring success; and (iii) more care is needed in the selection of CPF objectives and results. In addition, IEG highlights the following two lessons from the CLR and builds on them: (i) The experience from expanding coverage of social assistance programs nationally under a common approach provides lessons that can be used to scale up engagements in other areas. Mainly, to combine the use of federal-level rules, policy coordination mechanisms, monitoring systems and data sharing with state-level program implementation and monitoring systems. (ii) Efforts to address design and implementation challenges included the creation of State Coordination Units to break logjams and the Multi-Sectoral Crisis Response Project (MCRP) to bring together efforts in infrastructure rehabilitation and service delivery in three conflictafflicted states. Further progress could entail absorbing and streamlining within the MCRP sectoral program delivery and institutional structures so as to reduce the number of PIUs and facilitate synergies.