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OpMemo - The Provision of Reimbursable Advisory Services

These Operational Memoranda were prepared for use by World Bank staff and are not intended to be a complete treatment of the subject. They should be read together with the OP/BP to which they relate.
Operational Memorandum

File with OP 8.40 


October 3, 2012


Staff Recipients of the Operational Manual


Joachim von Amsberg, Vice President and Head of Network, Operations Policy and Country Services




The Provision of Reimbursable Advisory Service

1.  This memorandum replaces Operational Memorandum The Provision of Fee-based Services, dated September 24, 2008. It  is intended to help Bank units respond appropriately and consistently to requests for Reimbursable Advisory Services—that is, services provided as a direct response to requests from, and partly or fully paid for by, the recipient of the service, under a legal agreement.1

2.  The principles set out in this memorandum apply to Reimbursable Advisory Services provided by Regions and Sectors.2 


3.  In providing Reimbursable Advisory Services, the Bank’s purpose is to expand the options and services available to clients beyond those that it can fully fund through the administrative budget or by appropriate trust funds. A client’s request for Reimbursable Advisory Services does not affect the administrative budget for work in that country.3 

General Principles

4.  Strategic Objectives.  Reimbursable Advisory Services, like any services provided by the Bank, must fall within the purposes of the Bank as set out in its Articles of Agreement and must contribute to achieving the Bank’s mission of poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. Reimbursable Advisory Services must be consistent with the Bank’s strategic priorities, including—for borrowing countries—those set out in the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS).

5.  Alignment with Institutional Mandate. The Bank provides only Reimbursable Advisory Services that Management considers to be fully aligned with the Bank’s development mandate. In providing such services, the Bank does not enter into competitive bidding.

6.  Types of Services. The Reimbursable Advisory Services the Bank may provide are analytic and advisory services that the client requests and that the Bank cannot fund in full within the existing administrative budget envelope. This includes, inter alia, economic and sector work, non-lending technical assistance, impact evaluation, research services, external training and workshops/conferences. Subject to appropriate safeguards and risk management, the Bank may provide technical assistance for project-related preparation and implementation support services—except for advice directly related to engineering or final design. 

7.  Role of the Bank. Before taking on the provision of any reimbursable advisory service, staff and management explicitly consider the risks, including liability or reputational risks, and judge whether they are acceptable by the Bank, taking into consideration any risk management measures to be put in place. Staff ensure that the provision of Reimbursable Advisory Services does not involve a conflict of interest for the Bank or associate the Bank with any activity inconsistent with its policies.  The Bank does not provide services to assist one member country in advancing its interests over those of another member country.

8.  Clients. The Bank may provide Reimbursable Advisory Services to the following types of clients, all subject to the agreement of the country director concerned:

(a) governments and government institutions of the Bank’s member countries, including those that have graduated from the Bank;

(b)  subnational governments;4  

(c)  state-owned enterprises;5  

(d)  nongovernmental organizations6 and other not-for-profit private sector associations (such as chambers of commerce);

(e)  multilateral institutions, including development banks and regional organizations.

The Bank does not provide Reimbursable Advisory Services to commercial entities, except in the context of training programs.

9.  Quality Assurance. Reimbursable advisory tasks are subject to all applicable Bank policies and procedures and to the same quality assurance practices as analytic and advisory services handled through the administrative budget. Bank staff ensure that the client’s rules and procedures are consistent with the Bank’s operational policies, not just for the reimbursable advisory service itself, but also for the underlying projects on which the client is seeking the Bank’s advice. The applicable safeguards policies and procedures provide guidance to Bank staff involved in providing Reimbursable Advisory Services.  If the recipient of Bank advice fails to respect important safeguards, the Bank reserves the right to terminate the agreement.

10.  Costing. For all clients, the full costs of Reimbursable Advisory Services are calculated using the methodology of uniform pricing—that is, the recovery of direct and indirect costs (salary and associated benefits, travel, and subsistence) as well as overhead costs associated with providing the service.7 Indirect and overhead costs are represented by a proxy derived from data for previous years and reconsidered every two years; the factor is currently set at 50 percent.8   

11.  Sources of Funds. To meet the cost of Reimbursable Advisory Services, clients may use their own budgetary resources or third-party resources. Under some circumstances, the Bank may also contribute, via its own budget, to funding some percentage of the cost of the Reimbursable Advisory Services delivered to the client.9  

  1. Fee-based services (FBS) and reimbursable technical assistance (RTA) have been collectively renamed as Reimbursable Services (RAS). The Bank will continue to provide existing fee-based programs or reimbursable technical assistance under the original terms agreed upon with the client; however, as these programs move toward renewal over time, they must move into alignment with the principles outlined in this memorandum as soon as possible.
  2. The World Bank Institute and Treasury provide other advisory services, but they have their own pricing and processing arrangements.
  3. Country budget allocations are determined by such factors as country performance, GDP per capita, population, and lending levels.
  4. Subject to legal due diligence to verify, among other things, the capacity of the subnational to enter into and perform the contract and the potential impact of domestic law on the transaction, including any liability or other legal risks that may arise in connection with the services.
  5. The Bank may provide reimbursable services to state-owned enterprises so long as the other requirements of the Op Memo, in particular consistency with the Bank’s mandate and strategic objectives, are met.
  6. When providing services to entities other than the central government or its institutions, staff must obtain necessary central government approval.
  7. This defines the costing for reimbursable services, but does not prohibit the Bank from contributing to financing such costs (see para. 11).
  8. Units should use the 50% proxy, unless actual estimates can be substantiated.
  9. “Reimbursable Services: A Review of the Fee-Based Service Framework”, October 1, 2012.


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