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Focus on Results

Focus on Results

Established during the IDA13 replenishment and considerably enhanced during IDA14, the Results Measurement System (RMS) has become an integral part of the World Bank's effort to enhance its results orientation. It focuses on both development and agency effectiveness with two tiers of indicators. Tier 1 is a set of indicators selected to track trends in "big picture" outcomes relevant to IDA's overall development strategy-fostering the climate for sustainable growth and investing in and empowering poor people. Tier 2 tracks IDA's contribution to development outcomes using indicators of the quality and effectiveness of IDA programs and examples of the outputs that IDA produces in four sectors.

Focus on Results
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To date, experience with implementation of the RMS has been encouraging: it has captured heartening trends in country-level outcomes in IDA countries, and it is directly shaping a "results culture" in the management of IDA resources. At the same time, implementation of the RMS raises some issues that need to be resolved during the IDA15 period.

Overall, IDA countries are achieving improved outcomes, though progress varies by indicator and is uneven across countries. On average in IDA countries real GDP per capita rose by 5.6 percent annually during 2003-2006 and the proportion of people living on less than $1/day dropped by nearly two percentage points, from 31.7 percent in 2002 to 29.5 percent in 2004. The paper shows that if the recent pace of poverty reduction in IDA countries is sustained, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of halving the proportion of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015 can be reached. Indicators for financial management and investment climate also show positive change during recent years, with the regulatory obstacles to starting a new business continuously falling between 2004 and 2007. Progress in infrastructure development is also apparent: data show an increase in household electrification rates between 2002 and 2005, as well as a strong expansion of phone subscriptions. In the human development area, however, while there is strong progress toward universal primary education and gender equality in primary and secondary schools, changes observed in HIV/AIDS prevalence, maternal care, and child mortality are insufficient to reach the MDG targets, especially in Africa. Meanwhile, even as IDA countries make strong progress, the absolute gaps between IDA countries and other developing countries remain large or even increase in some cases.

IDA is making an important contribution by focusing attention on country-level data gaps in critical thematic areas. While work still needs to be done to compile estimates for the indicators from reasonably up-to-date censuses and various household surveys, the poorest IDA countries in Sub-Saharan Africa still lack adequate systems for gathering basic social and demographic data. This seriously hampers the transparency and effectiveness of decision making and program implementation at local levels. The IDA RMS has helped raise awareness about this issue, but there is still an urgent need to close these statistical gaps, either through IDA operations or through other initiatives from the broader donor community. At the 2007 Spring Meetings of the World Bank an effort was launched to significantly scale up support for improving statistical capacity and build results management capacities through a better coordinated donor effort. The success of this initiative will require strong leadership from IDA.

The introduction of a Results Measurement System (RMS) for IDA has generated a sharper focus on results at the country level and a stronger internal results culture. IDA is the first international financial institution to introduce a results measurement system that systematically tracks both key outcome indicators (development effectiveness) and its own contributions to these outcomes. This paper shows that IDA countries as a whole continue to make progress on the RMS outcome indicators: growth is increasing, poverty is declining, infrastructure development is progressing, and obstacles to business environment are falling. However, progress across IDA countries continues to remain uneven, particularly in fragile states. Also, several key human development indicators remain a cause for concern, notably in Africa. Having in place an explicit measurement system, particularly one that measures factors influencing (Tier 2) agency effectiveness that are in the control of staff and managers, can stimulate changes in internal organizational behavior. Recognizing this, it may be appropriate to further refine the IDA15 RMS indicators and related signaling mechanisms to reinforce the focus on results and to signal other changes in IDA behavior.

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Browse through "IDA at Work", a retrospective look at what IDA has achieved in select areas over the last 10 years.

What is IDA? The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that provides interest-free credits to the world's poorest countries. Learn more

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