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Dominican Republic CLR Review FY15-19

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vThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY 15-18, and the updated CPS at the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated December 13, 2017. The CPS period was extended by one year to FY19 at the PLR stage. The CLR highlights eight lessons with which IEG concurs. These include: (i) leadership and Show MorevThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY 15-18, and the updated CPS at the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated December 13, 2017. The CPS period was extended by one year to FY19 at the PLR stage. The CLR highlights eight lessons with which IEG concurs. These include: (i) leadership and strong political commitment from the government is required to advance the reform agenda; (ii) the policy dialogue conducted through the knowledge and advisory services was effective but could be strengthened further to lead to a more realistic program in the future; and (iii) in the context of DR, standalone DPLs may face challenges in ensuring sustainability and implementation of reform as opposed to a programmatic approach. IEG adds the following lesson: Effective use of the PLR is important for course correction and to align the program with implementation realities and changing government priorities. In this case, the PLR came late – for valid country reasons – but was still able to deliver a simpler and better structured program in line with changing government priorities.

Chile CLR Review FY11-16

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This review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the FY11-FY16 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) and its adjustments through the FY15 Performance and Learning Review (PLR). The WBG-supported program was broadly consistent with the government’s strategy and addressed major development challenges. It was based on public sector modernization (focus area 1), Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the FY11-FY16 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) and its adjustments through the FY15 Performance and Learning Review (PLR). The WBG-supported program was broadly consistent with the government’s strategy and addressed major development challenges. It was based on public sector modernization (focus area 1), job creation and improving equity (focus area 2), and promoting sustainable investment (focus area 3), and at PLR stage strengthened work on tax reform and tertiary education. The program implemented during the CPF period was broadly aligned with the WBG’s twin corporate goals. Work done under focus area 2 on job creation and equity directly addressed issues of poverty and shared prosperity. The education objectives explicitly addressed the need for improved quality of and access to education for the poor, as well as accountability of government-sponsored tertiary education institutions. In addition, objective 6 aimed to increase the access to social services for the poor, and objective 7 contained efforts to connect lagging regions and increase inclusion.

Democratic Republic of Congo CLR Review FY13-20

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This is a validation of the Completion and Learning Review (CLR) for the World Bank Group’s (WBG) engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) covering the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) FY13-FY17. For completeness and learning purposes, and while the CAS formally expired in FY17, IEG has elected to examine the period FY18- FY21 as well, where data are available, as no CPF was in place Show MoreThis is a validation of the Completion and Learning Review (CLR) for the World Bank Group’s (WBG) engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) covering the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) FY13-FY17. For completeness and learning purposes, and while the CAS formally expired in FY17, IEG has elected to examine the period FY18- FY21 as well, where data are available, as no CPF was in place to replace the CAS. Owing to data limitations and in line with the Working Arrangements between the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) and WBG, IEG’s review does not rate the CAS’s overall development outcome or the WBG’s performance. The CAS was congruent with country development challenges and the country’s second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP-II). It aimed to address the major binding constraints, rooted in conflict and fragility, that had prevented DRC from translating a recent track record of economic growth into poverty reduction: ongoing conflict, poor governance, highly limited capacity, and lack of employment opportunities. The program contained four focus areas: (i) increasing state effectiveness and improving good governance; (ii) boosting competitiveness to accelerate private-sector-led growth and job creation; (iii) improving social services delivery and increasing human development indicators; and (iv) addressing fragility and conflict in the Eastern provinces. Gender and climate change were defined as cross-cutting themes.

Ghana CLR Review FY13-18

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This review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) for Ghana covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY13-FY16, dated August 20, 2013 and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated October 20, 2016, which extended the CPS period by two years to FY18. The CPS and its PLR addressed relevant development challenges, including spatial Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) for Ghana covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY13-FY16, dated August 20, 2013 and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated October 20, 2016, which extended the CPS period by two years to FY18. The CPS and its PLR addressed relevant development challenges, including spatial inequalities and vulnerability, fiscal volatility, slow and low-quality employment growth, and limited government effectiveness. The WBG program as implemented was also well-aligned with the Government’s two successive development programs, the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda, 2010-2013 (GSGDA I) and its successor 2014-2017 GSGDA II. CPS pillars to improve institutions, competitiveness and job creation, and social protection were aligned with the WBG’s poverty reduction and shared prosperity objectives, although sharper selectivity could have strengthened this alignment.

Addressing Gender Inequalities in Countries Affected by Fragility, Conflict and Violence: An Evaluation of WBG Support (Approach Paper)

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The WBG recognizes that achieving gender equality is particularly challenging in those settings, but it is critical to make progress in peace building and resilience to crisis. Addressing gender gaps is a priority in FCV-affected countries because fragility and conflict disproportionally affect women and girls and exacerbate gender inequalities. The World Bank Group recognizes that effective Show MoreThe WBG recognizes that achieving gender equality is particularly challenging in those settings, but it is critical to make progress in peace building and resilience to crisis. Addressing gender gaps is a priority in FCV-affected countries because fragility and conflict disproportionally affect women and girls and exacerbate gender inequalities. The World Bank Group recognizes that effective responses to gender inequalities in FCV-affected countries need to be context-specific, country-owned, systemic, and sustainable. The goal of this formative evaluation is to provide lessons on what worked well, less well, and why, regarding the World Bank Group’s support to FCV-affected countries to achieve transformational change towards gender equality in two areas: women’s and girls’ economic empowerment and gender-based violence.

Adapting development in response to population aging

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Old and young holding hands. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Africa Studio
Population aging is no longer just a rich country phenomenon. Thanks to dramatic improvements in nutrition, sanitation, health, education, and—more generally—economic well-being, longevity has increased everywhere in the world, while fertility has decreased in most countries. This increasingly global demographic shift, unfolding in the developing world at a striking pace, brings a range of new Show MorePopulation aging is no longer just a rich country phenomenon. Thanks to dramatic improvements in nutrition, sanitation, health, education, and—more generally—economic well-being, longevity has increased everywhere in the world, while fertility has decreased in most countries. This increasingly global demographic shift, unfolding in the developing world at a striking pace, brings a range of new policy challenges, including critical implications for economic growth, inter- and intragenerational equity, and the inclusiveness of the development process. IEG’s recent report, World Bank Support to Aging Countries, offers the first assessment of World Bank efforts to help developing countries think through the challenges associated with population aging, and adapting policies and institutions to prevent and address those challenges.   Demographic Transition Stage World Map Population aging can put downward pressure on long-term economic growth through reductions in employment and labor productivity, higher dependency, and lower savings and investments. However, these negative impacts do not materialize if longevity is achieved by adding healthy years, which allows individuals to stay productive and independent for longer, and if the economy uses opportunities to produce higher savings and investments during the first demographic dividend (see box). The Demographic Transition The 2015/2016 Global Monitoring report classifies countries into four stages of demographic transition: pre-dividend countries (where fertility is greater than 4 births per woman); early-dividend countries (where fertility is lower than 4 births per woman, but there is an increasing working-age population); late-dividend countries (with a shrinking working-age population but where fertility fell only recently); and post-dividend countries (with a shrinking working-age population and where fertility fell below the replacement level, or 2.1 births per woman, three decades earlier). The latter two stages characterize aging countries. The first demographic dividend is the accelerated economic growth that may result from a decline in a country’s birth and death rates and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population.   The report found that the World Bank’s understanding of aging has improved over time, from a narrow focus on the sustainability of pension systems to a much broader perspective that explores the interconnections among different sectors of the economy and calls for coordinated policy responses. Yet there is still not enough attention paid to the profound distributional issues that population aging can cause. These include gender gaps, intergenerational disparities, and various types of inequalities: spatial, rural versus urban, and socioeconomic. A focus on gender is especially important, as there are multiple sources of gender inequalities in relation to aging. These are a result of gender differences in life expectancy, employment patterns, accumulation of pension entitlements, and care responsibilities. The evaluation found good examples of World Bank’s analytical work providing a solid and substantial empirical base and directly influencing the policy discussion. Country aging reports have been in some cases instrumental in stimulating the need to act to address the many challenges of population aging and have generated concrete responses by governments. The Country Aging Report for Uruguay, for instance, generated a new sense of local urgency and led to a country development strategy strongly centered on aging. In other cases, high-quality diagnostic work has helped countries to develop approaches to tackle specific issues, such as long-term care. Analytical work for China supported the design and implementation of the country aged-care system, with a strong emphasis on home- and community-based care, while promoting an efficient market for provision of care services. While the evaluation identified good examples of analytical work, for the World Bank to better help its client countries address their aging challenges, it needs to focus more on preparedness and improve its cross-sectoral thinking. Focusing on preparedness means promoting healthier behaviors for a healthy longevity, supporting productivity throughout the working life, and introducing incentives to save for retirement. It also means promoting financial awareness, age-friendly environments such as smart cities, or changing negative attitudes toward older people. Thinking cross-sectorally means recognizing the linkages across issues and the broader impacts that sectoral interventions can have, some of them unintended. For example, elderly care interventions can deepen the occupational segregation of women in mostly informal and low-paid long-term care jobs; pension reforms that aim at making a system more financially sustainable tend to penalize women, who have more irregular working patterns, earn lower wages, and contribute less to a pension system. The speed of demographic change requires new approaches to development that recognize the importance of supporting a healthier and more productive population to reduce the potential negative impact of population aging on future growth and prosperity. For the World Bank, this means articulating a clearer and more coordinated position with respect to population aging that will facilitate dialogue with client countries and improve the Bank’s capacity to provide support. Pictured above: Old and young holding hands. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

World Bank Support to Aging Countries

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shutterstock/ Ja Crispy
This evaluation is the first at the Independent Evaluation Group to assess the World Bank’s contribution to diagnosing client countries’ demographic issues related to population aging. This evaluation is the first at the Independent Evaluation Group to assess the World Bank’s contribution to diagnosing client countries’ demographic issues related to population aging.

Brazil: Rio State Fiscal Efficiency for Quality of Public Service Delivery Development Policy Loan (DPL III) (PPAR)

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This is a Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group for the Fiscal Efficiency for Quality of Public Service Delivery Development Policy Loan (DPL) III (P126465) to the state of Rio de Janeiro for $300 million. The program covered three policy areas: (i) tax administration, (ii) public financial management, and (iii) education Show MoreThis is a Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group for the Fiscal Efficiency for Quality of Public Service Delivery Development Policy Loan (DPL) III (P126465) to the state of Rio de Janeiro for $300 million. The program covered three policy areas: (i) tax administration, (ii) public financial management, and (iii) education and health. It achieved some of its objectives and targets in the short term (in fiscal years 2013–14), but these achievements were not sustained. Ratings for the Rio State Development Policy Loan III are as follows: Outcome was unsatisfactory, and Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory. The assessment offers the following lessons: (i) Subnational programs supporting institutional reform in areas such as tax administration, public financial management, education, and health require a long-term strategic vision and sufficient time for implementation. (ii) It was difficult to achieve fiscal sustainability in Rio state by reforming only a few technical aspects of tax administration without accounting for important issues, such as pensions, dependence on unstable oil revenues, weak institutions, and chronic corruption. (iii) An assessment of the Rio state’s fiscal situation, its implementation capacity, and medium-term perspectives could have improved the program’s design since the state was in dire financial situation and lacked the bandwidth to properly prepare and execute the 12 loans it was simultaneously negotiating with multiple lenders.

The COVID pandemic and global hunger

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Social Distancing in the Market, April 22, 2020, KENYA.  Photo: World Bank / Sambrian Mbaabu
Lessons from past crises to improve food security. Lessons from past crises to improve food security.

Covid-19 has exposed the fragilities of aging countries

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Elderly women are talking and maintaining a safe distance. Thailand. Photo credit: Shutterstock/CGN089
An IEG report focuses on much needed areas of attention.An IEG report focuses on much needed areas of attention.