Smallholder Tree Crop Revitalization Support Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Smallholder Tree Crop Revitalization Support project (STCRSP) in the Republic of Liberia, the first evaluation it has conducted in the country.
The project was implemented between 2011 and 2017 with the objective to reduce post-conflict poverty and food insecurity, and to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of rural communities. The target population of 15,000 smallholder cocoa/coffee farmers was extremely poor, with very low levels of literacy, and their contact with the wider economy and society was limited by lack of roads and services.
The project successfully rehabilitated 85 per cent of the targeted 15,000 hectares of cocoa and coffee farms, which enabled cocoa farmers to increase production and improve quality, and to obtain a higher price for their produce. The project has also been able to rehabilitate 133.1 km of roads and increase famers’ access to markets. STCRSP thus successfully contributed to improved livelihoods and enabled farmers to make the transition from survival mode to recovered livelihoods. In addition, the project was effective in reinforcing the extension services offered by public and private providers, and in strengthening farmers’ organizations.
However, the evaluation also concluded that the project design could have better supported food security, as there was no significant difference in food security indicators between STCRSP beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries.
The report recommends that future IFAD value chain development projects focus on addressing constraints upstream and pay increased attention to nodes downstream of the value chain, for instance, focusing on interventions that support farmers and their organizations to add value to their produce, and that promote an equitable share of benefits.
Rehabilitation and Community-based Poverty Reduction Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has prepared a project performance evaluation (PPE) of the Rehabilitation and Community-based Poverty Reduction Project (RCPRP) in the Republic of Sierra Leone, implemented in the country from 2006 to 2017.
The project was to be an integrated response to rehabilitating and sustaining essential services in the country, and restoring basic production capacity to pre-conflict levels by providing support to the short-term recovery of rural communities and their farming systems, while laying the basis for long-term rehabilitation and participatory development.
The report highlights that the project achieved its objectives related to increasing production of rice and cocoa – the main commodities at the basis of agriculture and rural development in Sierra Leone – and met its targets in terms of rehabilitating roads.
However, the project was less successful, for example, in creating effective links between primary producers and the market. Also, the effectiveness of the project’s climate- and environment-related interventions was mixed.
As a result, the evaluation noted, among its recommendations, the need to promote effective and efficient market participation by smallholder farmers, and to strengthen institutional expertise and the financial capacity of marketing organizations. In addition, where adaptation to climate change is specifically pursued, it should be treated as an intrinsic part of project design, not merely an accessory.
Niger: Food Security and Development Support Project in the Maradi Region
IOE has prepared an impact evaluation of the Food Security and Development Support Project in the Maradi Region (PASADEM).
Maradi is one of Niger’s most vulnerable regions, with a prevailing poverty rate of 87 per cent and a child (0-59 months) severe chronic malnutrition rate of 54 per cent. PASADEM aimed to improve the food and nutritional security of 65,000 rural households by establishing five economic development hubs (EDHs), combining support to agro-pastoral productivity, market access and food resilience for vulnerable households.
The impact evaluation highlights important achievements as well as rural poverty issues that still need to be addressed. It found that PASADEM contributed to important improvements in food security and resilience: for example, the period of food sufficiency was extended by one month.
However, the costs and time required to construct the infrastructure associated with EDHs had been underestimated, and the limited infrastructure constrained access to the market centres developed.
One of the evaluation’s recommendations is to augment – within the EDH framework – actions to improve the food and nutritional security of poor and vulnerable rural populations. In addition, the implementation of at least one EDH in each region should be finalized, in order to assess the effectiveness and impact of EDHs as development models.
Technical Innovations for Rural Poverty Reduction
The Independent Office of Evaluation has prepared an evaluation synthesis report on Technical Innovations for Rural Poverty Reduction, drawing information from evaluations undertaken between 2010 and 2018. The report serves as a building block for the upcoming corporate-level evaluation on Innovation and Productivity Growth for Inclusive and Sustainable Agriculture, which will provide a wider assessment of IFAD’s work on innovation.
The evaluation synthesis report found technical innovations to be mainstreamed in IFAD. In fact, the majority of IFAD projects feature a variety of innovations, especially in the categories of crop diversification, livestock and crop management. The innovations have brought about principally two types of change: productivity enhancing and, to a lesser extent, transformative change. Productivity enhancing innovations improve returns to land, labour and capital through incremental changes to the farm business. Transformative innovations, on the other hand, significantly alter farming system structures and functions by introducing new enterprises or radically different ways of agricultural technologies.
While transformative innovations are considered higher-risk and usually require broader packages of support to be successful, they have the potential for higher rewards. IFAD should enhance its focus on transformative processes, including by leveraging its strengths in providing the necessary support and facilitating relevant partnerships, while ensuring that the risks associated with innovations are carefully managed.
Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project (WUPAP), implemented in Nepal between 2003 and 2016.
The project was designed to strengthen the capacity of 115,000 households to mobilize their own resources, gain access to external resource and “live their lives in dignity”.
The report highlights that one of the main achievements of the project was the implementation of effective targeting approaches appropriate to various contexts. Through the community investment plan, virtually all IFAD investments reached the poorest beneficiaries and were spent according to their choice and needs.
The performance was, however, weakened by the fact that the original integrated rural development project design was too complex for the fragile political context and remote districts. Poor road networks and infrastructures further hampered WUPAP’s achievements.
As a result, the evaluation highlighted, among other recommendations, the need for Government stakeholders at all levels to provide strong and continued engagement in IFAD projects in the mid-and uplands.
2019 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD operations
The 2019 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD Operations (ARRI) presents a synthesis of IFAD’s performance and highlights results and systemic issues from independent evaluations conducted in 2018. The quantitative analysis draws on ratings from 344 evaluations conducted since 2002.
The report confirms that overall the performance of IFAD operations has been positive. Seventy-five per cent of all evaluation ratings are moderately satisfactory or better in the period 2007-2017. Currently, 80 per cent or more projects assessed against the criteria of relevance, innovation, scaling up, rural poverty impact and IFAD performance as a partner are rated moderately satisfactory or better. The 2019 ARRI highlights however that the portfolio performance trend is flat or declining in most criteria in 2015-2017. The most significant decline is for IFAD and government performance as partners. Only adaptation to climate change reached its Tenth Replenishment (2016-2018) Results Measurement Framework targets based on IOE ratings.
“Relevance of IFAD project interventions” is the learning theme of the 2019 ARRI. Based on the findings, the ARRI recommends to determine earlier the need to adjust project designs to ensure their “continued relevance” to the country context.
Agricultural Rehabilitation and Poverty Reduction Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of IFAD has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Poverty Reduction Project (PRAREP), implemented in Côte d’Ivoire from 2009 to 2015.
The objective of PRAREP was to reduce poverty and food security in the wake of the conflict and improve living and working conditions for the most vulnerable rural communities. The project came at the right time, as it provided an immediate response to the situation of food insecurity, vulnerability and increased poverty.
The report highlights the encouraging results achieved by PRAREP in reviving agricultural production in the target areas, and its contribution to improving productivity, production and farmers’ incomes.
The performance of PRAREP was, however, weakened by the fact that close to half of the project financing was never mobilized, and thus, the agricultural infrastructure subcomponent was not implemented. Moreover, weaknesses in building organizational capacity of producers had an adverse effect on the sustainability of the input supply arrangements set up by the project.
As a result, the evaluation highlighted, among other recommendations, the need to systematically include capacity-building for farmers’ organizations, even in a post-crisis context.
Corporate-level Evaluation on IFAD’s Engagement in Pro-poor Value Chain Development
The attention to value chain development is becoming increasingly important for IFAD as traditional food systems are being replaced by organized value chains. Over the last decade, the number of value chain- relevant projects supported by IFAD has increased from 41.5 per cent to 72.3 per cent, while the volume of loans approved has gone from 50 per cent to 81 per cent. This major shift posed challenges as the value chain approach was new to many IFAD staff and government staff in charge of managing IFAD-funded projects.
The evaluation found that project design has improved over time, reflecting a better understanding of the value chain concept. However, analytical gaps remain. Few designs have been supported by market intelligence to prioritize the choice of commodities and steps within the value chain in order to achieve pro-poor outcomes.
The evaluation suggests that it is possible to reach out to poor and very poor producers through value chain approaches, but this requires specific attention. The most convincing pro-poor outcomes occurred in projects where IFAD had experience and where multi-stakeholder platforms were created to enable dialogue between value chain actors.
The evaluation recommends that a corporate strategy be prepared for IFAD’s support to pro-poor value chain development that clarifies the objectives and principles of engagement as well as the resources required. It suggests a “programmatic” approach to value chain development, recognizing the need for long-term engagement. Finally, the evaluation emphasizes the importance of promoting an inclusive value chain governance and regulatory environment.
Belize Rural Finance Programme
The Independent Office of Evaluation has prepared a performance evaluation report on the Belize Rural Finance Programme, co-financed by IFAD and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). The evaluation was conducted in close collaboration with the Evaluation Office of CABEI.
The report highlights that the programme's support to the credit union movement in Belize was both timely and relevant. It focused on capacity building at micro level (through credit unions) and at meso level (through the Belize Credit Union League), providing appropriate technical assistance and introducing an innovative member share account incentive scheme to attract new rural members.
The rural poor who joined credit unions enjoyed modest improvements in incomes, assets, quality of life, economic activities, education and health, but it is unlikely that access to credit union financing significantly improved agricultural productivity or rural enterprise performance.
Although the business case for serving the rural poor remains to be made for most credit unions, the Government, IFAD and other partners, intend to continue supporting credit union activities in rural areas in Belize.
Inclusive financial services for the rural poor
Access to financial services is essential to lift people out of poverty as it allows them to seize economic opportunities and increase their welfare. It is seen as an important component of the inclusive rural transformation agenda of IFAD, which, since 1981, has financed over 1,000 projects, worth US$3.4 billion.
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared an evaluation synthesis report on IFAD’s Inclusive Financial Services for the Rural Poor. The evaluation synthesis draws information from evaluations undertaken between 2008 and 2017.
In 2007, IOE conducted a corporate-level evaluation of rural finance in IFAD, which paved the way for a new Rural Finance Policy that was introduced in 2009. The synthesis found that the mix of financial instruments in the portfolio has not changed since 2009. Loan guarantee funds, lines of credit and matching grants are overly represented in the mix. Projects still tend to use traditional financial services, mainly savings and borrowing. New types of services promoted by IFAD, such as leasing, insurance, warehouse receipts and value-chain financing, were rarely used or, when included at the design stage, they were found less feasible during implementation. The transition to new types of financial services requires significant investments in technical assistance, market studies and capacity, for which governments were often hesitant to use loan funds. The availability of qualified financial services, their capacity and their presence in rural areas were the main factors determining IFAD's approach on the ground.
The principles of the revised Rural Finance Policy emphasize the need to move towards market-led and demand-oriented approaches, offering a diverse set of services and products. While the diversity of instruments, services and products has increased, they have been offered within traditional supply-led approaches, leading to a lack of demand orientation on the part of country interventions. A key related issue is in the weak implementation capacity on the ground. These issues must be addressed for IFAD to remain relevant and be in demand as an Inclusive Financial Services player.
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.
Rural Financial Services and Agribusiness Development Project
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Rural Financial Services and Agribusiness Development Project" in the Republic of Moldova. The project, implemented between 2011 and 2016, responded to important challenges in the country's rural sector. The main goal was to provide credit and develop value chains for small and medium-sized enterprises, thereby indirectly benefiting the poor through increased and decent employment opportunities.
The evaluation found improved access for both small and medium-sized enterprises and new target groups such as young entrepreneurs and microentrepreneurs thereby addressing an existing financing gap. The project was less successful in improving pro-poor value chains because of mistrust between buyers and producers and volatile market prices, which resulted in contracts not being adhered to.
The report highlights the need for explicit targeting strategies as well as careful ex ante examination of the assumed "trickle down" effects. It also notes that projects should monitor the linkages between investments in enterprises and the direct and indirect benefits, to ensure they help reach poor farmers. IFAD has successfully provided loans through lines of credit to small and medium-sized enterprises, however, there is a need to strengthen the savings culture, which is currently not very strong in Moldova.
Finally, this evaluation recommends that future IFAD projects focus on agribusiness and agro-processing development for smallholders. This would enable them to add value to their primary products, build their capacity to deal with different value chains, and shift swiftly from one value chain to another.
Read more: Approach paper
Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project
Project performance evaluation
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project" in Rwanda. The project was successful in achieving its objective of fostering increase of traditional crops such as rice, maize, vegetables and milk production. Women beneficiaries were not left behind economically, and innovations such as the flexi-biogas system freed the time they had spent in fetching firewood.
Yet, the lack of effective marketing linkages and competitive prices for producers meant that the attempt at integrating farmer beneficiaries into complete value chains remained incipient. The project also failed to link beneficiaries with rural financial institutions – linkages which would have been important for financing production and value addition.
The evaluation highlights the need to adopt a longer-term programmatic approach in the case of development projects that involve a simultaneous, coordinated and comprehensive approach to rural poverty alleviation in a particular area. It also recommends ensuring that value chain development is truly demand-oriented by involving market actors such as traders and private companies when integrating value chain components in principally supply-side 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.
Rural Finance and Enterprise Development Programme
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Rural Finance and Enterprise Development Programme (RFEDP)" in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The programme, implemented between 2010 and 2017, was designed to provide the rural poor with access to financial services on a sustainable basis, develop an enabling environment for business development and establish micro – and small-scale enterprises in rural areas.
As the national context is affected by institutional and structural limitations, lack of access to finance remains a major constraint for many rural enterprises. RFEDP worked at the macro, meso and micro levels to tackle multi-dimensional challenges. At the macro level, the programme supported the policy formulation and coordination between stakeholders, while at the meso level, it supported financial institutions in strengthening their capacity.
The report however reveals that programme activities at the meso and micro levels lacked a suitable strategy to engage poorer segments of the intended target groups.
The evaluation recommends that future rural finance projects in Eswatini focus on savings and credit groups so as to better target the poor and also to better operate in a challenging policy and institutional environment.
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.
Smallholder Plantations Entrepreneurship Development Programme
Project performance evaluation
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared a performance evaluation report on the "Smallholder Plantations Entrepreneurship Development Programme (SPEnDP)" in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The programme, implemented between 2007 and 2016, was designed to improve the livelihoods of smallholder tea and rubber growers by establishing or upgrading plantations and supporting other income-generating activities, community infrastructure and other needs.
The core programme investments in tea and rubber production, coupled with intercropping, were successful in improving the incomes and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in a sustainable manner. The programme supported 250 ha of tea replanting in mid-country and rubber planting in 5,087 ha of land in Monaragala. These plantations, once established, can provide steady cash flows over years. Rubber planting was in areas that were utilized or under-utilized and had a generally positive environmental impact.
The report however, reveals that while the focus on production was appropriate, more attention could have been paid to post-harvest improvements, as well as environmental issues, especially for tea plantations. In this respect, greater care should be taken to avoid subsidizing tea (re)planting on unsuitable lands.
There is also little evidence of the impact on social capital and empowerment. The evaluation therefore recommends that IFAD and the government should engage and strengthen existing community-based organizations rather than create new ones.
Community-based Forestry Development Project in Southern States (Campeche, Chiapas and Oaxaca)
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) has conducted a performance evaluation on the "Community-based Forestry Development Project in Southern States (Campeche, Chiapas and Oaxaca) ” (DECOFOS) in Mexico. The project, implemented between 2009 and 2016, showed that forests and natural resources in general have an important productive potential and can be managed sustainably. The available data suggest that the project contributed to forest preservation in the implementation areas. Overall, the project made a contribution to poverty alleviation among vulnerable and marginalized groups in rural areas.
The evaluation also reveals that the impact and sustainability prospects would have been greater if the project had formulated an exit strategy to consolidate the undertakings. This strategy could have focused on improving the managerial capacity of grassroots organizations, their access to working capital and connection to markets and value chains.
The executive summary is also available in English.
IFAD’s support to livelihoods involving aquatic resources from small-scale fisheries, small-scale aquaculture and coastal zones
The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) has prepared an evaluation synthesis report on IFAD’s support to livelihoods involving aquatic resources from small-scale fisheries, small-scale aquaculture and coastal zones. The report provides a review of the evaluations of all aquatic-resources-relevant projects supported by IFAD from 2009 to 2018. In addition, it provides an analysis of the evolution of the portfolio since 1979, when the first project that addressed aquaculture was approved.
IFAD achieved notable success in some countries where it engaged in aquaculture or fisheries over several years. In the aquaculture subsector in Bangladesh, it supported a number of projects introducing innovative approaches to aquatic resources management. In the marine fisheries subsector in Mozambique, IFAD’s interventions tended to be more effective partly because the focus was exclusively on fishing communities.
In-house expertise also increased the capacity of the Fund to collaborate effectively and build partnerships with organizations that have greater technical resources in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
The report emphasizes the need for IFAD to enhance the quality of its interventions in these subsectors through more technical depth, improved analysis of countries' socio-economic context and better integration of environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation measures.
Kenya: Smallholder Horticulture Marketing Programme
The Smallholder Horticulture Marketing Programme mainly targeted smallholder horticultural farmers that produce for the domestic market, input suppliers (stockists), produce traders, transporters, and processors. It reached about 21,311 direct households in 14 districts, and 36 per cent of beneficiaries were women.
The evaluation was conducted using a quasi-experimental approach, which combines econometric and qualitative techniques to estimate the impact of the project. A total of 1500 households of beneficiary and comparison groups were interviewed for the evaluation. Two measures of food security were employed to assess the impact on food security of beneficiaries – the Household Food Insecurity Assessment Score and the Household Dietary Diversity Score.
The project showed positive results on horticultural producers’ incomes and their food security. This was primarily realized through the production node of value chains, which employed a district-based approach. Training was provided to commercial village groups, however there was a greater impact on agronomic practices than on marketing knowledge.
The report found that the lack of trust among group members was the most common denominator in explaining the less-than-desired outcomes in commercial villages. Issues of lack of accountability and poor governance also acted as barriers to successful collaboration in groups dedicated to commercialization. Additionally, the effects of the devolution from central to county governments were most visible in relation to the market infrastructure aspect. Several market structures, built using the programme funds, in fact, were not functioning.
The evaluation recommends adopting an integrated approach and a proper sequencing of activities in value chain-related interventions.
Northern Region Sustainable Livelihoods through Livestock Development Project
ADB and IFAD Joint Project Performance Evaluation
This is the first joint project performance evaluation conducted by the independent offices of evaluation of ADB and IFAD.
The Independent Evaluation Department (IED) of ADB and the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of IFAD confirm the benefits of joint evaluations in terms of knowledge sharing, mutual learning, and costs reduction for the government. IOE and IED together enhanced these benefits by transforming this joint project evaluation into an evaluation capacity building exercise that involved key stakeholders at different levels, including staff from IED and IOE, Government staff, and staff of other ADB and IFAD projects implemented in Lao People’s Democratic Republic and in Asia.
The Northern Region Sustainable Livelihoods through the Livestock Development Project in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was instrumental in highlighting the potential of investments in livestock as a pathway to the sustainable development of the remote northern regions of the country, underlining Lao PDR’s comparative advantage in the sector. However, deeper impact on the ground was constrained by the limited effectiveness of the targeting strategy, which did not allow the project to reach the poorest households, the flaws in the design of the microfinance and market components, dismantling of livestock production groups and sporadic training activities.
The evaluation recommends a more tailored targeting approach to support commercialization and the sustainable development of the livestock sector and that IOE and IED continue to conduct joint evaluation whenever possible.
Georgia Country strategy and programme evaluation
This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation carried out in Georgia by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the partnership between IFAD and the Georgian Government from 2004 to 2016.
The evaluation found that the portfolio was relevant and overall well-aligned with Government priorities, which had seen some marked changes over the period. Infrastructure absorbed the largest share of IFAD's investments. These investments could have been more effective if part of a wider strategy to enhance sustainable livelihoods.
IFAD has supported important innovations and has built institutional capacities within the agricultural sector, for microfinance, land registration and food safety. Project performance was, however, often disappointing because of weak project designs with unrealistic objectives and implementation approaches, and poorly linked project components. IFAD did not address issues of inequality, including gender, in this rapidly transition economy.
The evaluation recommends that IFAD should enhance partnerships with other development partners, build on its experience with rural finance and rural institutions, and adopt an explicit strategy for targeting those at risk of poverty and social exclusion in the country.
2018 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD operations
The 2018 Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD operations (ARRI) presents a synthesis of IFAD’s performance and highlights results and systemic issues from independent evaluations conducted in 2017. The quantitative analysis draws on ratings from 320 evaluations conducted since 2002.
The report confirms that overall the performance of IFAD operations has been positive. Seventy-six per cent of all evaluation ratings are moderately satisfactory or better in the period 2007-2016. Currently, 80 per cent or more projects assessed against the criteria of relevance, innovation, scaling up, rural poverty impact and IFAD performance as a partner are rated moderately satisfactory or better. It is worth mentioning that a benchmark analysis of IFAD’s operations revealed that the Fund’s performance is generally better than or equivalent to that of other multilateral organizations supporting agricultural development.
The 2018 ARRI highlights however that the portfolio performance trend is flat, with signs of deterioration. In the period 2014-2016, sustainability, efficiency, innovation, scaling up, gender equality and women’s empowerment, government performance and rural poverty impact all declined slightly. Sustainability of benefits and efficiency remain longstanding bottlenecks for project performance, with the lowest means in the entire period of 2007-2016.
Targeting the rural poor is the learning theme of the 2018 ARRI. Based on the findings, the ARRI recommends to revise the 2007 Targeting Policy and guidelines in order to establish greater clarity on who IFAD interventions should target. This is especially important given the emphasis on reaching the "poorest people in the poorest countries" in the IFAD11 Consultation report and the 2030 Agenda commitment of "leaving no one behind".
IFAD’s financial architecture
The overarching purpose of the corporate-level evaluation on IFAD’s financial architecture is to independently assess how IFAD creates value for Member States through sound investment decisions and financial strategies contributing to rural poverty reduction. This is the first evaluation of its kind undertaken by a development finance institution and one of the most complex evaluation exercises conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE). It examines the policies and systems adopted to mobilize, manage, allocate and disburse financial resources to fulfil IFAD’s mandate.
The evaluation generated a number of important findings and recommendations that merit close attention. The main finding is that the Fund’s financial architecture has been under strain since the Ninth Replenishment period of IFAD’s financial resources. As it stands, it can no longer support an expanding programme of loans and grants. Moreover, the financial architecture does not pass the test of financial sustainability: accumulating losses lead to an erosion of IFAD's equity. Therefore, the evaluation recommends that important reforms be undertaken to address the factors affecting IFAD's financial sustainability, the mobilization of financial resources and the rationale by which these are allocated. It also recommends introducing new and revising current financial products to respond to the demands of borrowing Member States, as well as to internal and external financial governance. Accomplishing these reforms will be essential to ensure the Fund’s financial sustainability, enabling IFAD to fulfil its unique mandate of rural poverty reduction and make a substantial contribution towards meeting the goals set in the Agenda 2030.
The corporate-level evaluation was discussed at the 124th session of IFAD’s Executive Board on 12 September 2018. The Board noted that the findings and recommendations of the evaluation raised vital questions with regard to the future character and structure of the Fund.