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Tajikistan CLR Review FY15-18

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This independent review of the World Bank Group's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY15-FY18.The government's National Development Strategy (NDS), 2006-2015, aimed at generating sustainable growth, improving public administration, and developing human resources. The CPS original design was broadly aligned with NDS Show MoreThis independent review of the World Bank Group's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY15-FY18.The government's National Development Strategy (NDS), 2006-2015, aimed at generating sustainable growth, improving public administration, and developing human resources. The CPS original design was broadly aligned with NDS through its three focus areas: (1) strengthening the role of the private sector; (2) social inclusion; and, (3) promoting regional connectivity. The CPS design also included cross-cutting areas in gender, governance, and climate change. The CPS sought to help Tajikistan transition to a new growth model. The cost of complying with business regulation dropped, although Tajikistan continues to rank the lowest in the Central Asia region per the 2019 Doing Business report. Tax e-filing has exceeded expectations, but taxpayer satisfaction with new procedures was not assessed. The World Bank collaborated effectively with development partners in areas such as energy, water, and governance. INT received ten complaints and launched three investigations which all closed as substantiated.IEG agrees with the lessons and highlights the following: (i) overambitious objectives and/or under-emphasis of institutional impacted the success of the CPS program; (ii) with greater ownership and commitment, the government can (and does) implement “transformational projects” and achieve significant results; and, (iii) uneven governance standards, weak administration capacities, and inadequate internal review practices are constraints to swift implementation and need to be anticipated and managed proactively.IEG adds two lessons: i) A country program should identify objectives that match the level of ambition of the program and its intended results and impact; and ii) Political economy analysis of the drivers of policy reform is necessary early on to accompany implementation of ambitious goals.

Croatia CLR Review FY14-17

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This review of the Croatia's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY14-FY17, and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of 2016.The World Bank Group program had three focus areas: (i) promoting fiscal consolidation, (ii) improving competitiveness to spur growth, and (iii) maximizing the Show MoreThis review of the Croatia's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY14-FY17, and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of 2016.The World Bank Group program had three focus areas: (i) promoting fiscal consolidation, (ii) improving competitiveness to spur growth, and (iii) maximizing the benefits of EU membership. These were broadly congruent with the government's 2013 Economic Program, which covered fiscal consolidation with a particular focus on pension reform and rationalizing hospitals; growth and competitiveness through a sustainable development strategy based on the knowledge economy; and absorption of EU funds available to Croatia. The CPS addressed key challenges facing the country, including EU accession, and was congruent with the Government's 2013 Economic Program and aligned with the WBG's twin goals. The analytical work undertaken by the World Bank contributed to the 2018 Systematic Country Diagnostic Study (SCD), and addressed fiscal issues as well as issues in the justice system, energy, and smart specialization. Portfolio performance was comparable with the ECA region and the World Bank, but some interventions were affected by changes in government priorities.

Argentina CLR Review FY15-18

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This independent review of the World Bank Group's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the World Bank Group's Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Argentina, FY15-FY18. The CPS had three focus areas: (a) unlocking long-term productivity growth and job creation; (b) increasing access to and quality of social infrastructure and services for the poor; and (c) reducing Show MoreThis independent review of the World Bank Group's Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the World Bank Group's Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Argentina, FY15-FY18. The CPS had three focus areas: (a) unlocking long-term productivity growth and job creation; (b) increasing access to and quality of social infrastructure and services for the poor; and (c) reducing environmental risks and safeguarding natural resources. Gender and governance were cross-cutting themes to be integrated into WBG engagements. While the CPS was finalized before the 2015 election, the CPS framework remained relevant to the new administration's critical priorities, which included economic reforms to boost long-term productivity growth, developing social infrastructure and services in areas with the highest levels of poverty concentration, and meeting the country's targets for Nationally Determined Contributions for climate change.

North Macedonia CLR Review FY15-18

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The Republic of North Macedonia (North Macedonia) is an upper middle-income country which is small and land-locked. The World Bank Group's (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) had two pillars (or focus areas): (i) growth and competitiveness, and (ii) skills and inclusion. The CPS was broadly aligned with the government's 2014-2018 program, which sought increased growth and employment, Show MoreThe Republic of North Macedonia (North Macedonia) is an upper middle-income country which is small and land-locked. The World Bank Group's (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) had two pillars (or focus areas): (i) growth and competitiveness, and (ii) skills and inclusion. The CPS was broadly aligned with the government's 2014-2018 program, which sought increased growth and employment, international integration, reduced corruption and more efficient law enforcement, better inter-ethnic relations, and investments in education, innovation and technology. Specifically, the CPS supported the growth and employment, infrastructure, social protection, and education pillars of the Government's program and the government's efforts to stabilize public debt. The European Union (EU) accession agenda was a cross-cutting theme in the CPS. At the PLR stage, the CPS maintained its overall focus, albeit with some changes in emphasis, and was aligned with the new Government program (2017-20) that focused on growth, jobs, and social protection, among other areas.

Armenia CLR Review FY14-18

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Armenia is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $3,990 in 2017. It is a small and landlocked economy with borders closed with Azerbaijan and Turkey as a result of the unsettled Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It faces significant trading costs while trade accounts for 75.7 percent of GDP (2016). As a result of the 2014/15 Russian crisis and the slump in metal export prices through Show MoreArmenia is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $3,990 in 2017. It is a small and landlocked economy with borders closed with Azerbaijan and Turkey as a result of the unsettled Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It faces significant trading costs while trade accounts for 75.7 percent of GDP (2016). As a result of the 2014/15 Russian crisis and the slump in metal export prices through 2016, Armenia’s annual GDP growth declined from 4.3 percent during 2009- 13 to 3.6 percent during 2014-17, even though this growth reflects a sharp rebound to 7.5 percent in 2017. Slower growth and increased unemployment slowed progress in poverty reduction. Unemployment increased from 16.2 percent in 2013 to 18.3 percent in 2015, where it remained through 2017. After declining from 35.8 percent in 2010 to 30.0 percent in 2014, the headcount poverty ratio changed little through 2016. Income inequality (the Gini coefficient) also changed little, from 31.5 in 2013 to 32.5 in 2016. During the CPS period, broader measures in social conditions improved slightly. Armenia’s Human Development Index improved from 0.729 in 2010 (76th among 169 countries) to 0.755 in 2017 (83th among 189 countries). The World Bank Group’s Country Program Strategy (CPS) had three pillars, or focus areas, including the cross-cutting area on governance. These covered broadly the same areas as the previous CPS (FY09-13): (i) supporting competitiveness and job creation; (ii) improving efficiency and targeting of social services; and (iii) improving governance and decreasing corruption. The CPS was broadly aligned with the Government of Armenia (GoA) Development Strategy 2025 (ADS) adopted in 2014. The ADS sought to boost shared prosperity and reduce poverty through accelerated economic growth and job creation. World Bank Group’s support was also aligned with a number of GoA’s strategies and programs, including in the areas of strengthening competitiveness, enhancing social and environmental sustainability and improving the efficiency and transparency of public administration. The Performance and Learning Review (PLR) confirmed the relevance of the pillars and maintained most CPS objectives. PLR adjustments primarily reflected changes in country circumstances (stalled recovery and fiscal constraints).

Morocco CLR Review FY14-17

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This independent review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-FY17. In addition to the CLR, this review is based on the original CPS approved by the Board on April 1, 2014 and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 24,2016 which updated aspects of the original Show MoreThis independent review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-FY17. In addition to the CLR, this review is based on the original CPS approved by the Board on April 1, 2014 and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 24,2016 which updated aspects of the original CPS. Morocco is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $2,860 in 2017. Steady economic growth from 2001 to 2013 helped close the income gap with Mediterranean Europe and reduce poverty from 15.3 percent to 4.8 percent and lower the Gini coefficient from 40.6 to 39.5 over the same period. The well-being of the poorest 40 percent of the population improved in absolute and relative terms.1 Morocco’s UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) score has been increasing gradually from 0.53 in 2010 to 0.67 in 2016, when the country’s ranked 123rd out of 188 countries. However, economic growth has slowed. Average annual GDP growth between 2014 and 2017 was only 3.1 percent despite investment exceeding 30 percent of GDP. Major development challenges have included a high rate of unemployment (around 10 percent), especially among the young (about 30 percent), and regional income disparities. Macroeconomic indicators have improved with lower fiscal and current account deficits and the public debt to GDP ratio stabilized at around 65 percent in 2016. The CPS had three focus areas: (i) promoting competitive and inclusive growth; (ii) building a green and resilient future; and (iii) strengthening governance and institutions for improved service delivery to all citizens.

Zambia CLR Review FY13-17

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The review of Zambia’s completion and learning review (CLR) of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) country partnership strategy (CPS) covers the period FY13-FY17. The WBG’s CPS had three focus areas: (a) reducing poverty and vulnerability of the poor; (b) improving competitiveness and infrastructure for growth and employment; and (c) improving governance and strengthening economic Show MoreThe review of Zambia’s completion and learning review (CLR) of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) country partnership strategy (CPS) covers the period FY13-FY17. The WBG’s CPS had three focus areas: (a) reducing poverty and vulnerability of the poor; (b) improving competitiveness and infrastructure for growth and employment; and (c) improving governance and strengthening economic management. Cross-cutting elements included regional integration, strengthening institutional capacity, and addressing governance, gender, and climate change challenges. The CPS was aligned with the government’s sixth national development plan 2013-2016, which aimed to accelerate infrastructure development and economic diversification, promote rural investment, accelerate poverty reduction, and enhance human development. Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) rates the CPS development outcome moderately unsatisfactory. The CLRR agrees with the CLR lessons as specified: (a) collaboration and coordination among stakeholders is critical to improving portfolio quality, (b) the number and design of projects should consider implementation capacity of the country and supervision capacity of the WBG, (c) WBG projects should be reflected in, and aligned with, the government program, (d) the WB can be effective in strengthening institutions at the local level, and (e) incorporating accountability measures in project designs promotes good governance, transparency, and oversight.

Paraguay CLR Review FY15-18

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Paraguay - Completion and Learning Review for the Period FY15-FY18 : IEG Review (English) Paraguay is an upper middle-income country with a population of 6.8 million (2017) and a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of USD 3,920 in 2017.The population is very young (60 percent under thirty years old) and the country is going through a rapid urbanization process from a low base. The country has over Show MoreParaguay - Completion and Learning Review for the Period FY15-FY18 : IEG Review (English) Paraguay is an upper middle-income country with a population of 6.8 million (2017) and a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of USD 3,920 in 2017.The population is very young (60 percent under thirty years old) and the country is going through a rapid urbanization process from a low base. The country has over the last 15 years achieved solid economic growth (average GDP growth of 4.7 percent per annum) and improved shared prosperity, spurred by abundant natural resources. The CPS for the World Bank Group (WBG) had three pillars (or focus areas): (i) resilience to risks and volatility; (ii) pro-poor delivery of public goods and services; and (iii) agricultural productivity and market integration. The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) focus areas and objectives were broadly aligned with the government's National Development Plan (NDP) 2014-2030 and supported the NDP's higher level objective to reduce extreme poverty and foster income growth of the bottom 40 percent. The WBG's program components were well aligned with the NDP and addressed important development issues. The program was selective with three focus areas and eight objectives (some of which, however, contained multiple sub-objectives). The Bank demonstrated flexibility by shifting to knowledge services when the demand for IBRD lending dropped in the run-up to the election. However, the results framework had significant shortcomings which were not fully addressed at the PLR stage. The Completion and Learning Review (CLR) highlighted six lessons with which IEG concurs: (i) simplicity in project design helps speed up project implementation; (ii) investment projects may help to build governance and capacity; (iii) a realistic results framework is needed for timely achievement of objectives; (iv) a strong ASA program requires selectivity and government ownership; (v) RASs may help prioritize ASA demand and advance reforms during Paraguay's long project preparation cycles; and (vi) the flexibility afforded by programmatic ASA helps respond to changes in client needs.

Liberia CLR Review FY13-17

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Liberia is a low-income country with a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of 380 US dollars in 2017. After a period of conflict and instability, Liberia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 6.2 percent during 2003-2013. The ebola virus disease (EVD) crisis of 2014-2016 and a drop in global commodity prices resulted in slower average annual GDP growth of 2.1 percent with per Show MoreLiberia is a low-income country with a GNI per capita (Atlas method) of 380 US dollars in 2017. After a period of conflict and instability, Liberia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 6.2 percent during 2003-2013. The ebola virus disease (EVD) crisis of 2014-2016 and a drop in global commodity prices resulted in slower average annual GDP growth of 2.1 percent with per capita annual GDP growth at -0.4 percent during 2013-2017. As a post conflict country aiming to achieve sustained broad-based growth, Liberia faces several development challenges: large infrastructure gaps, poor education and health indicators, a large youth cohort, lack of economic diversification, and weak public institutions. The World Bank Group's country partnership strategy had three pillars: (i) economic transformation; (ii) human development; and (iii) governance and public sector institutions. In addition, the CPS had two cross-cutting themes of capacity development and gender equality. The CPS focus areas and objectives were well aligned with the government's agenda for transformation with a strong focus on infrastructure. The CLR provided a succinct assessment of the achievement of program objectives. It identified the increases in IDA lending attributable to the EVD outbreak. The CLR review agrees with the CLR lessons: (i) ensure government's strong commitment to the CPF program through close alignment with the country's development plans; (ii) adapt and apply a sound post-conflict and fragile country lens in the design of CPF programs for post conflict countries; (iii) keep an eye on medium-term goals even in the face of a crisis such as EVD; (iv) being selective about cross-cutting themes and including outcomes associated with these themes helps maintain the Government's and Country Team's focus on them throughout implementation. IEG provides the following additional lessons: (i) flexibility of the CPS program enabled the WBG to respond to the EVD crisis in a timely manner; and (ii) trust fund activities need to have a well-articulated strategic focus and explicit selectivity filters to ensure that they contribute to the achievement of CPS objectives.

Kyrgyz Republic CLR Review FY14-17

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The Kyrgyz Republic is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $1,100 in 2016. It is a country with a land-locked and mountainous geography, and rich in mineral and water resources. GDP growth averaged 3.7 percent during the CPS period (2014-17), somewhat below the average during the previous four years (4.0 percent). Gold production and worker remittances have been significant Show MoreThe Kyrgyz Republic is a lower middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $1,100 in 2016. It is a country with a land-locked and mountainous geography, and rich in mineral and water resources. GDP growth averaged 3.7 percent during the CPS period (2014-17), somewhat below the average during the previous four years (4.0 percent). Gold production and worker remittances have been significant drivers of growth, but are subject to volatility and do not lend themselves to sustained growth. Growth helped reduce poverty rates, from the recent peak of 38.0 percent in 2012 to 25.4 percent in 2015. Nevertheless, the country’s Human Development Index improved slightly from 0.656 in 2013 (ranked 125nd among 187 countries) to 0.664 in 2015 (ranked 120th among 188 countries). Inequality (the GINI Index) declined from 28.8 in 2013 to 26.8 in 2016, Policy effectiveness has been undermined by high levels of corruption and frequent changes in Government. Kyrgyz’s rank in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index deteriorated from 123rd of 167 in 2015 to 135th of 167 in 2017. During the CPS period, there were five different prime ministers. The World Bank Group’s (WBG) CPS had three pillars (or focus areas): (i) public administration and public service delivery, (ii) business environment and investment climate, and (iii) natural resources and physical infrastructure. The CPS was aligned with the Government’s National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS), 2013-2017, specifically with NSDS objectives on public administration, judiciary, social services, financial and private sector development, agribusiness, exports, environmental protection/resource management, energy, transport, and urban development. These objectives were part of the NSDS broad focus on governance, state building, and economic development. WBG’s support was also aligned with a number of specific government programs (e.g., the Governance and Anti-Corruption Plan adopted in 2012).