Click here for search results

Site Tools

Findings

Also See:

 Recommendations


Download by Chapter

Chapter 7: Findings and Recommendations


Also see: 

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Relevance of the Bank's Work

Chapter 3: Effectiveness of the Bank's Country Programs

Chapter 4: Sharing and Use of Knowledge

Chapter 5: Engagement of Middle-Income Countries in Global Programs

Chapter 6: Cooperation Across the Bank

Performance on Priorities for MICs and the Bank

arrowThe Bank has tailored its individual country strategies astutely to be relevant. 
 More

arrowOn the overarching priority of promoting growth-emphasized at the corporate level in the two-pillar development strategy-the Bank's support to MICs has been effective and generally well regarded by clients.  More

arrow In moving beyond growth into poverty reduction, MICs have secured some positive outcomes overall.  More 

arrow The Bank has paid significant attention to poverty in its country strategies. 
 More 

arrow Progress on poverty has been helped by work in supporting poverty-focused interventions, including social assistance programs. 
 More

arrow Clients expressed some dissatisfaction on helping protect the poor during crises.  More

arrow Less progress has been made on important issues beyond the growth agenda.  More

arrow Progress been sketchy and deficient in some respects on other important corporate priorities.  More

arrow Meeting environmental challenges in MICs has proved problematic.  More

Influences on the Performance of the Bank

arrow The Bank has not been agile and has struggled to keep pace with the speed at which client needs and demands have been changing. 
 More

arrow Clients find the Bank's quality stamp-reflected in its technical expertise, project design, and supervision skills-to be a key strength.  More

arrow An opportunity has been missed in failing to draw upon MICs' own national capacity in a strategic or ample manner.  More

arrow Drawing on MICs to help shape priorities for global programs has been limited.  More

arrow Within the Bank Group internal cooperation among the Bank, IFC, and MIGA has been underwhelming.  More
Performance on Priorities for MICs and the Bank

The Bank has tailored its individual country strategies astutely to be relevant to varied needs across this very diverse group. Most country strategies have focused on sectors and themes important for countries' development needs, including promoting growth. They have brought together tools-finance, knowledge, convening power-in a fairly well integrated fashion, thereby providing a mix of support not readily available from other sources. For some clients, however, particularly among the 30 small-state MICs, the Bank's mix of tools has fitted less well with country conditions.

Return to top



On the overarching priority of promoting growth-emphasized at the corporate level in the two-pillar development strategy-the Bank's support to MICs has been effective and generally well regarded by clients. MICs as a group have grown robustly, particularly since 2001 when more than two-thirds of the group have achieved per capita growth above 2 percent per annum on average. The close match between country and Bank priorities has created an environment for ownership of measures to enhance growth. Nearly 70 percent of respondents in this evaluation's client survey rated the Bank's support to fostering growth as moderately effective or better. The Bank's macroeconomic and structural policy analysis has been good, and this analytical work has been combined with policy-based lending in several cases, including Colombia and Romania, to put growth-enhancing measures into practice. Bank-financed projects in several sectors that can help facilitate growth, including those in infrastructure, have been particularly strong performers.

Return to top



In moving beyond growth into poverty reduction, MICs have secured some positive outcomes overall. The group as a whole has lifted nearly 400 million people above the $2 per day poverty threshold since 1993. In addition to the world-leading achievements of China, the other MICs have reduced their poverty rate by 20 percent, considerably faster than the reduction observed in low-income countries (LICs) over that period. And clients in MICs across the income spectrum have provided a favorable assessment of the Bank's overall support to reducing poverty-with three-fifths rating its help as moderately effective or better.

Return to top



The Bank has paid significant attention to poverty in its country strategies, including helping to quantify and analyze its incidence, as well as to assist clients in developing responses to their particular poverty issues. This stance in addressing poverty has proved pertinent to most MICs' needs, and has been successfully meshed with work on supporting sustained growth. For example, in Bulgaria clients appreciated the anti-poverty efforts that emphasized improving institutions and the investment climate alongside measures targeted specifically at pockets of poverty.

Return to top



Progress on poverty has been helped by work in supporting poverty-focused interventions, including social assistance programs. In Tunisia, for example, the Bank's policy work supported the government's focus on growth with equity, helping among other things to increase incomes in remote rural areas. In many cases the combination of knowledge work and finance has proved valuable, as encapsulated in social assistance projects, which have performed particularly well. The transfer of knowledge across countries has been a positive ingredient of the Bank's work in this area, exemplified by the sharing of experiences with conditional cash transfer programs in many locations-and noted by clients in Colombia and Turkey as a significant value-added in the Bank's support.

Return to top



But on helping protect the poor during crises-one of the rationales for support to MICs suffering such financial calamity-clients express some dissatisfaction with the Bank's efforts, which have not been well regarded. Case studies confirm that the Bank's speed of response in assisting countries once a crisis has emerged has been good (although coordination with the IMF was sub-optimal), its liquidity assistance has been appreciated, and its work helped advance structural reforms. On the other hand, in Brazil, the Russian Federation, and Thailand, neither the Bank nor the authorities had strong contingency plans to strengthen social safety nets to protect the poor during crises. Furthermore what support the Bank provided for more substantial social protection reforms, where sustained government ownership was not always apparent, had modest impact over the longer run.

Return to top



Less progress has been made on important issues beyond the growth agenda, where there are significant challenges. In particular, more than half of MICs have seen inequality rising over the past decade. While the Bank's work has shown increasing awareness of the issue, it has not yet succeeded in helping countries deal convincingly with the problem. Over half of client survey respondents rated the Bank's work in addressing inequality as moderately ineffective or worse. In many MICs inequality has a strong geographic dimension with particular regions within countries facing a growing prosperity gap against better performing locations. In Ukraine, for example, the Bank has supported regional development efforts but reductions in regional inequality have yet to be secured.

Return to top



Progress has also been sketchy and deficient in some respects on other important corporate priorities. On the challenge of fighting corruption, which is relevant to many MICs, there is limited evidence that the Bank's efforts have found much traction. Perception indicators measuring control of corruption have not moved significantly in the majority of MICs over the review period. In Indonesia, for example, despite some positive steps by the government and useful contributions from the Bank, corruption remains problematic and the outcome of the Bank's work in this field has been assessed as moderately unsatisfactory. In this evaluation's client survey, views across MICs were quite stark on this issue-two-thirds of respondents judged the Bank's contributions to reducing corruption as moderately ineffective or worse, the most negative response received on surveyed topics. To some extent these observations may reflect the complex, sensitive, and long-haul nature of dealing with corruption. There are some signs of progress, for example, in Turkey and Ukraine, with help from Bank support including for improved procurement practices, and better monitoring and awareness of corruption.

Return to top



Finally, meeting environmental challenges in MICs has proved problematic. The Bank has given some attention to the topic, and most MIC country assistance strategies mention environmental issues. Some country programs, for example those in Brazil in the review period, have helped to deliver satisfactory progress by positioning environmental issues as integral to the sustainable growth agenda, securing government ownership, and building domestic institutional capacity in the environment field. But this experience has not been widespread, and lending for projects mapped to the environment sector board have performed poorly compared to other sectors. Difficulties have included overly complex project design, a lack of institutional capacity for implementation-for example in the land use rationalization project in Paraguay, wavering political support, and weaknesses in ongoing coordination between implementing agencies and the Bank.
 

Return to top

Influences on the Performance of the Bank

Development needs differ across MICs, with countries at the lower end of the income band tending to face a broad range of challenges and those with higher incomes concentrating on more specific issues. There are also considerable variations in the nature of Bank country programs, including in volume of lending and its scale relative to country resources, the balance between lending and advisory services, and the sectors and themes of primary emphasis. The evaluation found that across different country types and program types, several features relating to the Bank's way of working have enhanced-or impaired-the success of its support. These are the adaptability and responsiveness in its instruments and programs; the quality of expertise; the extent of drawing upon MICs' own capacity, including in global programs; and internal Bank Group cooperation.

Return to top



The Bank has not been agile and has struggled to keep pace with the speed at which client needs and demands have been changing. The lack of agility has taken several forms. Clients in several countries emphasized slow responsiveness to changing country conditions, including their changing preferences on financing instruments, which may have undermined the Bank's relevance and led them to look elsewhere for financing. Another dimension is perceived cumbersome processes and procedures that impede access to its support. Certainly clients take into account the specific financial terms as they make borrowing decisions. But nonfinancial costs of doing business, alongside other considerations such as quality and program relevance, carry even more weight for many clients.

The Bank takes too long to consider and implement significant changes-such as use of country safeguards in place of Bank-specific systems-in relation to the needs and opportunities presented in MICs. One timing issue the Bank has got right is better alignment of its individual country programs with national planning cycles-noted by clients in Colombia and China among others-which improves the prospects of success.

Return to top



Clients find the Bank's quality stamp-reflected in its technical expertise, project design, and supervision skills-to be a key strength. For some countries it is what is embedded in this quality stamp that provides the main value in Bank financing. And across MICs, its analytical and advisory work has been in most cases of high technical quality, and has satisfactorily embodied the lessons of international experience. For example, in Thailand its support for recent work on the economics of effective AIDS treatment helped link policymakers with the latest international experience, and so further strengthened the country's programs. But on other occasions the effectiveness of knowledge services in shaping opinion for public policy and investment has been hampered by inadequate presentation and dissemination of reports. These weaknesses have held back the Bank's contribution to the information marketplace.

Return to top



An opportunity has been missed in failing to draw upon MICs' own national capacity in a strategic or ample manner. In some sectors, such as education and health, specific local knowledge is vital, but even in sectors where international best practice is more clearly established, such as the financial sector, local perspective on how to implement development solutions is essential. In this regard, the Bank's knowledge services, perhaps in part because they have not fully used or helped build national capacity, have too often been good on diagnostics but weak in applying expertise to specific local needs. And while some MICs recognize the potential for the Bank to help transfer knowledge to other countries, its efforts to incorporate this explicitly in its country programs, or indeed through a clear Bank-wide framework, have been modest.

Return to top



Similarly, drawing on MICs to help shape priorities for global programs has been limited. IEG's global programs evaluation (2005) recommended that the Bank and its global partners work to enhance the voice of client countries on the governing bodies of global programs. Even though there have since been some positive changes and MICs typically have more voice in the governance of global programs than low-income countries, their input remains modest. Even large MICs' involvement in the governance of significant global programs occurs only about one-third as often as it does for high-income countries. This inhibits MICs' enthusiasm for and engagement in such programs.

Return to top



Within the Bank Group, despite considerable high-level attention directed toward making the best use of its combined resources, internal cooperation among the Bank, IFC, and MIGA has been underwhelming. What efforts there have been to cooperate at the country level have been more apparent in strategy than in implementation. In country programs, Bank Group cooperation has been modest-barely half of planned instances of cooperation have come to fruition-and its purported potential has not been fully exploited. In Kazakhstan, for example, although several areas of cooperation were planned, only one-quarter of those took place. The main factors inhibiting cooperation are the incompatible timelines for projects, differences in organizational culture, and prevailing staff concerns that their time can neither be easily allocated to cooperation nor recognized in performance assessment. Another facet that has to be properly managed are risks associated with potential or perceived conflicts of interest across the Bank Group, especially in turbulent market conditions at times of financial crises.
 

Return to top

 

Also See:  Recommendations

 

back to top 430

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Permanent URL for this page: http://go.worldbank.org/3M9XINF2R0