Ecuador Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation (CSPE) conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) in Ecuador. It covers the period 2009–2019, reviewing four loan projects and nine grants.
The evaluation examined three aspects in particular: (i) the lending portfolio; (ii) the non-lending activities (knowledge management, partnership building, country-level policy engagement and grants); and (iii) the performance of the main partners (IFAD and the Government). Building on an analysis of these three dimensions, the CSPE assesses the relevance and effectiveness at the country strategy level.
The evaluation found that IFAD’s performance in Ecuador has been moderately satisfactory. The strategic design of IFAD’s programme was sound and enabled its activities to remain relevant despite the significant changes occurring in the country. There was an improvement in the access to assets and resources to support the diversification of Ecuador’s rural economy, through the promotion and strengthening of production and associative enterprises. However, the lack of attention to marketing and market access limited the expected outcomes.
For the future, IOE’s recommendations include reinforcing the differentiated territorial approach with local stakeholders’ participation in project implementation, considered key in enabling access to differentiated markets and valuing Ecuador’s biocultural heritage; and promoting the sustainability of enterprises, one of the cornerstones of IFAD’s portfolio in the country.
Sudan Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation conducted in Sudan by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. The report reviews the ten years between 2009 and 2018 and covers nine projects.
During the evaluation period, the country experienced momentous change, due to the secession of South Sudan in 2011 (and consequent loss of oil revenues) and the coup d’état of 2019, which paved the way to civilian democratic rule.
The evaluation found that IFAD’s approach was relevant to the country context and to the needs of rural poor people, also thanks to a focus on traditional rainfed agriculture. The portfolio generated successes in several key areas, including crop and livestock production, and natural resource management (NRM). At the same time, it yielded remarkable impact in terms of human and social capital, empowerment of rural communities and women. Importantly, the portfolio contributed towards reducing conflicts around natural resources, by strengthening and promoting community-level institutions and dispute resolution mechanisms. These results were complemented by investments in water resources and sustainable NRM practices.
Conversely, the sustainability of benefits was mixed, especially where government resources and commitment were required. In the future, stronger partnerships, coupled with greater efforts in monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management and analytical work will enable IFAD to capitalize further on the results achieved and contribute to their scaling up. The evaluation expresses the hope that the new political context will advance the scope for advancing these gains even further.
Madagascar Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Madagascar by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE). The report reviews the joint work of IFAD and the Government of Madagascar from 2013 to 2019, covering six projects.
The programme focused on improving the incomes and living conditions of the rural poor. It also specifically included adaptation of production systems to climate change in promoting a resilient economy as one of its main guidelines.
According to the report’s findings, IFAD helped achieve encouraging results in improving access to land and irrigation, means of production, training, microenterprise support services, and markets.
The report also highlights some areas for improvement. The programme has contributed to natural resource management (NRM), climate change adaptation and mitigation for small producers. However, apart from hydro-agricultural developments, the actions remain limited compared to the scale of the challenges. Moreover, although the projects have fully engaged in actions to improve the economic status of women and young people, more can be done to promote these groups’ participation in decision-making or a more equitable distribution of the workload within households.
The report recommends, among other things, reinforcing the inclusion of very poor and highly vulnerable rural people in the country programme, enhancing actions in NRM and climate change adaptation and mitigation,strengthening the effectiveness of non-lending activities – such as partnership development and knowledge management – and improving the monitoring and evaluation of results and impacts.
Sierra Leone Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Sierra Leone by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE). The report reviews the joint work of IFAD and the Government of Sierra Leone from 2003 to 2019, covering five projects.
The period covered by the evaluation was highly dynamic, characterized by the efforts to reconstruct the economic and productive sectors and to promote sustainable growth in the aftermath of the lengthy civil war. The evaluation found that the IFAD adapted well to the rapidly evolving national priorities and strategies, shifting focus from basic agricultural inputs and infrastructure to fostering access to rural finance and strengthening commercial agriculture. In addition, the portfolio’s outreach was remarkable, achieving targets by 100 per cent or close; well over 80 per cent of the community banks, while financial services were successfully made available to over 200,000 households.
However, the report highlights some areas for improvement. Financial inclusion could be enhanced, to encompass a greater proportion of smallholders. The value chain for rice, a main staple crop in Sierra Leone, could be strengthened, with particular focus on the linkages between producers and processing and marketing actors. In addition, activities to attract more youth to agriculture could be implemented.
Moving forward, the report recommends, among other things, to bolster the development impact of agricultural growth by focusing on strengthening value chains, increase the level of engagement in rural finance by building on existing rural financial structures in the country and develop a country-specific youth strategy.
United Mexican States Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in the United Mexican States by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. It covers the partnership between the Government and IFAD from 2007 to 2018. During this period, IFAD has invested in seven projects and programmes in the country with a total cost of US$250.56 million, of which US$132.95 million was financed by IFAD.
The programme focused on supporting groups of rural producers living in poverty who had not previously been reached by public programmes. In addition, Mexico is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and these projects showed that it is possible to achieve a balance between local economic needs and positive environmental impact.
However, the performance of the portfolio was weakened by changes in agricultural sector policies, to which ongoing projects were not adapted, as well as design weaknesses such as a lack of innovative approaches to training producers and their organizations in financial services and market access. The grants programme opened up opportunities for consultation on rural policy issues and options, by supporting rural dialogue groups and multinational studies on conditional cash transfer programmes and ways to combine them with inclusive production measures.
The evaluation sets forth the following main recommendations: (i) fine-tune the country programme’s geographical and agro-ecological targeting; (ii) improve the technical and innovative quality of project design; (iii) improve monitoring of and capitalization on lessons learned; (iv) strengthen IFAD’s capacity to provide operational and strategic support for the programme; and (v) promote greater government engagement in project design and implementation, as well as adequate budgetary allocation for implementation.
Federal Republic of Nepal Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the third country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Nepal by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE). The report reviews the joint work of IFAD and the Government of Nepal over the past seven years (2013 -2019), covering eight projects.
Over the past decades, farm fragmentation and low crop productivity have endangered the economic viability of traditional farming systems in the country. According to the report’s findings, IFAD has helped increase the productivity of small farms by focusing on improved production of high-value crops, such as spices, off-season vegetables, fruits, cereal and dairy products.
Linking small-scale farmers with value chains was important to enhance their economic opportunities. The programme has helped improve farmers’ access to markets, including international markets, as well as the transparency, stability and predictability of prices.
However, the report highlights some areas for improvement. The evaluation recommends supporting federalization in the country, focusing on how to adapt the projects to the new system and as well as on how to support local governments in promoting rural development.
According to the report, IFAD should bring back into its funding spectrum the support to community development, basic infrastructure and services as a preparatory step for further economic opportunities. Finally, the evaluation recommends strengthening partnerships for specialized technical support and for cofinancing.
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
In a context characterised by the end of a long standing conflict and recovery from the Indian Ocean Tsunami, IFAD-supported projects have contributed to improved agricultural production and productivity in several districts throughout the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Such outcomes were achieved through activities including support to smallholder farmers to establish or upgrade tea and rubber plantations, rehabilitate irrigation schemes and access improved technologies. These achievements were the main contributing factors for increased incomes and assets. The projects also succeeded in improving access to markets and finance and in income diversification.
On the other hand, the improvements in agricultural production were not necessarily driven by improved and innovative technologies which promoted resource use efficiency (e.g. water) or strengthened climate resilience. Furthermore, in pursuing partnerships with agribusinesses, there was scope for more careful consideration on how to ensure added value of public funding.
The report recommends that future operations pay greater attention to promoting innovative technologies which also strengthen climate resilience and that IFAD and its partners explore ways to innovate and leverage more systemic improvements in the rural finance sector in Sri Lanka. The evaluation also underlines that IFAD should look to play a more catalytic role, going beyond individual investment projects.
Kenya Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Kenya by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. It reviews the past seven years of work that IFAD has undertaken together with the Kenyan government. Since 1979, IFAD has invested in 18 projects and programmes in the country for a total cost of US$813.3 million, of which US$376 million was financed by IFAD.
The evaluation found that IFAD has been innovative in bringing solutions around credit delivery, agro-processing and environmental management. Such interventions have boosted agricultural productivity, and improved food security. The evaluation highlights remarkable achievements in gender equality and natural resources management.
The report also mentions the issues that still need to be addressed. For example, the IFAD programme made a modest contribution to the social and economic empowerment of youth. Activities related to marketing and processing have been less successful and the expected synergies between rural finance and value chain projects were not realized.
Furthermore, recurrent design and institutional issues undermining programme efficiency need to be addressed within the ongoing devolution process - by which Kenya's central government transferred responsibilities to regional governments.
The evaluation also recommends that IFAD should continue focusing on the areas where it has worked successfully in the past: natural resources management, pro-poor value chains and rural finance.
Burkina Faso Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
The results of the evaluation show that IFAD-supported projects enhanced agricultural productivity and food security by improving agricultural practices for food crops (maize, millet and sorghum) and for cash commodities (sesame, honey, dairy and shea). Soil conservation techniques promoted by the Community Investment Programme for Agricultural Fertility contributed to a 300 per cent increase in sorghum yields and a 200 per cent increase in rice and millet crops. IFAD interventions also helped to diversify and increase rural incomes by promoting microenterprises and income-generating activities.
The evaluation highlights achievements as well as issues that still need to be addressed. One of the recommendations is to focus interventions on priority regions in the medium term for enhanced impact, and to establish an effective monitoring and evaluating system that enables results and changes to be measured, and lessons learned to be generated. The evaluation also notes that IFAD will need to extend its reach to the poorest and most vulnerable populations, particularly women and young people, by supporting them to access microcredit.
This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) in Burkina Faso and covers the partnership between the Government and IFAD from 2007 to mid-2018. Over a period of almost 40 years, IFAD has supported 14 projects and programmes in the country for a total cost of US$548.4 million, of which IFAD contributed US$276.7 million.
Tunisia country strategy and programme evaluation
This is the second country strategy and programme evaluation conducted by IOE in Tunisia. The evaluation covers six projects implemented between 2003 and 2018, which contributed to improve living conditions in rural areas through substantial investments in natural resources management and socio-economic infrastructure.
The report notes that the programme has achieved remarkable environmental and natural resource management results. IFAD has helped boost crop and livestock productivity through investments in irrigation infrastructure, soil and water conservation works and the expansion and restoration of rangelands.
The report also highlights some areas for improvement. One of the recommendations is to ensure that interventions reach out more effectively to the most vulnerable populations particularly poor farmers, women and youth. Another recommendation is to minimize the vulnerability of supported value chains to climate change and market risks.