Rwanda Country Programme Evaluation

Rwanda  
marzo 2012

The performance of the IFAD-funded project portfolio in Rwanda has improved significantly since the country programme evaluation of 2005, especially with regard to effectiveness and efficiency, and impact on household incomes and food security. A key contributing factor has been the stronger policy and institutional environment the country has built up over the past decade. IFAD for its part has improved the alignment of its interventions with national strategies and has introduced direct supervision and implementation support together with a country presence.

While IFAD’s cooperation with Rwanda has been solid at the project level, less resources have been devoted to non-lending activities (forging partnerships, policy dialogue and knowledge management). The key programme challenges (rural finance, cooperative development, support to local governments) are however of a systemic nature and therefore cannot be adequately addressed by project components alone. The Government’s move towards further harmonization of international cooperation calls for adapting to a more coordinated approach to cooperation, whereby IFAD would place adequate emphasis on non-lending activities and higher-level institutional issues.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Kenya Country Programme Evaluation

Kenya  
julio 2011

This is the first country programme evaluation of Kenya by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD, since the Fund started its operations in the country in 1979.

Among other areas, the evaluation found useful results in natural resources management and environmental conservation, community development, and the introduction over time of approaches that favour income generation and commercialisation of small farmers as a means to rural poverty reduction.

IFAD’s performance as a partner in Kenya has been considered as satisfactory in more or less the last decade. At the same time, the country programme evaluation underlines that the highly varied nature of sub-sector activities financed through IFAD-supported projects in Kenya and insufficient attention to policy dialogue and strategic partnerships with bilateral and multilateral donors have constrained the Fund from contributing even more widely to improving rural incomes and livelihoods. Furthermore, its largely exclusive focus, in the past, on medium to high potential areas in the south west of the country has also not enabled the Fund to contribute to exploiting the largely untapped economic potential in the arid and semi-arid lands, where around 50 per cent of all rural poor people live in Kenya.

 

LANGUAGES: English

Mozambique Country Programme Evaluation

Mozambique  
julio 2010

This is the first country programme evaluation that the Independent Office of Evaluation has undertaken for Mozambique. The overriding strategic objective has been to raise the incomes of agricultural smallholders and artisanal fishermen, by increasing their marketable surpluses and improving the marketing of high-value produce The selected objectives are seen as highly relevant to Mozambique. However, the focus on geographical areas characterized by particular development challenges has made it difficult to achieve high levels of effectiveness and efficiency. Nevertheless, moderately satisfactory performance has been achieved in terms of promoting artisanal fisheries, agricultural marketing, and social and economic infrastructure, and, while the support for financial services has encountered challenges, there have been a number of success stories at the national level.

 

LANGUAGES: English, Portuguese

India Country Programme Evaluation

India  
julio 2010

The evaluation confirms the value of IFAD’s work in addressing rural poverty in India. While the Fund has contributed to promoting pro-poor innovations in particular, it has also served as a ‘demonstrator’ of how to design, implement, supervise, and monitor and evaluate pro-poor agriculture and rural development projects and programmes in a systematic manner. Satisfactory results have been achieved, especially with regard to promoting livelihoods among tribal people, empowering women through the formation of selfhelp groups, and developing rural finance systems at the grassroots level. There is also evidence of policy impact. The evaluation found, however, that limited attention had been paid to agriculture (e.g., crop development, research and extension, etc.) in rainfed areas, although more recent operations include agricultural activities.

LANGUAGES: English

Niger Country Programme Evaluation (2010)

Niger  
mayo 2010

Objectives and main lines of the evaluation. In 2009, the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) undertook its first evaluation of IFAD's country programme in Niger. This country programme evaluation (CPE), performed in accordance with IFAD's Evaluation Policy and the manual on methodology prepared by IOE, has the main objectives of evaluating the performance and impact of IFAD's operations in Niger and proposing a series of conclusions and recommendations that can be used as input for the Fund's future country strategy. To attain these objectives, the evaluation examines the performance of three components of the partnership between the country's Government and IFAD, which reinforce each other mutually: the portfolio of projects and programmes, non-lending activities, and the two country strategic opportunities programmes (COSOPs) for Niger. The evaluation of the portfolio, which includes seven projects and programmes, covers the period from 1997 to 2009.

National context. Niger is a landlocked Sahelian country covered for two thirds by desert. In 2007, 62 per cent of the population still lived below the poverty line, of which two thirds in rural areas. Niger's other socioeconomic indicators are also quite low. Women and young people are particularly affected by poverty. About 82 per cent of the population is rural and concentrated in the southern fringe of the country. Population growth, which is one of the highest in the world, poses a considerable challenge for the country's development. The socio-political landscape has been regularly marked by social troubles, internal armed conflicts, and political-institutional crises. The macroeconomic framework has, nonetheless, improved in the last ten years, particularly thanks to structural reforms and a significant reduction in the foreign debt. However, governance in Niger continues to be affected by heavy reliance on foreign aid, the instability of institutions and their leaders, insufficient means available to the decentralized technical services and communes, and widespread corruption in the administration. These problems of governance have held back the implementation of poverty-reduction strategies. Foreign aid for agriculture and rural development in the country has grown considerably, particularly between 1998 and 2007 (US$553.4 million in six years), but the impact of that aid suffers from the country's poor absorption capacity. Investments in socioeconomic infrastructure are still very low. Niger's private sector and civil society organisations are scantly developed and also live to a large extent from development aid.

The predominance of crop and livestock farming and poor intra-sector diversification make Niger's economy very vulnerable to climate and market vagaries. The informal sector accounts for 70 per cent of gross domestic product, which partly explains the narrowness of the country's tax base. Traditional subsistence agriculture is in crisis under the combined effects of population pressure and the heavy degradation of natural resources. Consequently, rural families must turn to markets to buy local or imported food supplies. They are therefore forced to diversify their sources of income. Niger has significant water potential, with less than one third currently being used. The limited access to land by vulnerable farming families, women in particular, is a major obstacle to improving their income and food security.

IFAD in Niger. IFAD has prepared two COSOPs for Niger, respectively in 1999 and 2006. The strategic objectives of the 1999 COSOP involved improving access to financial services by the poor, natural resource management, materialising the opportunities offered by the regional market, taking a participative approach to the development of grass-roots organizations, and improving access to basic social services. The 2006 COSOP abandons the objective related to rural financial services but, in the context of the 2004-2005 food crisis, adds the strategic objective of reducing the vulnerability of rural families and improving their food security. With the 2006 COSOP, IFAD and the Government agreed to focus the interventions financed by IFAD on the Maradi region, which is where 20 per cent of the country's population lives. This was the region hardest hit by the 2004-2005 food crisis. With regard to subsectors, the two COSOPs focused mainly on agricultural development and natural resource management, local capacity-building and institutional development, support for rural financial services and the creation of local investment funds, and support for rural infrastructure and services. IFAD's target groups are small producers (farmers and herdsmen), the most vulnerable women, and unemployed rural youths.

Since 1980, IFAD has helped to finance eight projects and programmes in Niger for a total cost of US$234.6 million, of which 45 per cent was covered by IFAD loans. Consequently, in the last 10 years, IFAD has provided about 8.5 per cent of all aid to Niger's rural and agricultural sectors. The budget allocated to Niger under IFAD's performance-based allocation system (PBAS) has risen from US$4 million to US$6.2 million a year between 2005 and 2009. The allocation established for the 2007-2009 PBAS cycle was US$16.65 million and it will be doubled for the 2010-2012 cycle.

By and large, the projects are intended to improve the incomes and living conditions of poor rural populations. The specific objectives of the evaluated portfolio relate mainly to natural resource management, the development of grass-roots institutions and capacity building, better access to rural financial services, higher productivity in crop and livestock farming, and better access to basic social services in rural areas. Technical-assistance grants support different areas such as research and development, innovation and dissemination of improved farming technologies, infrastructure, natural resource management, agricultural development, etc. The grants, which are generally linked to an IFAD-financed project, total about US$1.62 million.

IFAD's activities in Niger are carried out by government institutions. However, applying the principle of outsourcing, implementation of most of the activities is delegated to NGOs, research departments, or deconcentrated technical services, with the aim of promoting development of the supply of local services. Partnerships with other technical and financial partners are envisaged to finance and implement projects, partly under the coordination mechanisms between the Government and donors that are already in place. The projects financed by IFAD in Niger have been cofinanced mainly by the World Bank, the French Development Agency, the World Food Programme, the West African Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Belgian Fund for Food Security.

Assessment of the portfolio. On the whole, the projects' objectives are consistent with the Government's and IFAD's policies and strategies. The portfolio responds adequately to the needs of the rural poor and shows good flexibility to adapt to urgencies and new developments. Since the objectives and scope of the early projects exceeded the managerial capacity of the project teams, projects have more recently evolved toward stronger involvement of local institutions and narrower geographic focus of activities. In contrast, not enough attention has been paid to irrigated farming, animal husbandry, off-farm activities, or market access for the rural poor, given the sizeable potential in these areas. Partnerships with decentralized technical services and communes (which were only created in 2004) have not been sufficiently developed but they will be central to the next project cofinanced by IFAD (Agricultural and Rural Rehabilitation and Development Initiative Project-Institutional Strengthening Component – ARRDI-ISC – ). Consequently, the relevance of the portfolio has been moderately satisfactory.

With regard to the effectiveness of the portfolio, the best results have been obtained in the rehabilitation of degraded farmland and, to a lesser extent, in the management of water for small-scale irrigation. On the local level, these results have helped to increase the productivity of crop and livestock farming. There has also been a modest improvement in access by the population to rural financial services, but it has generally not continued after project completion. The construction and rehabilitation of rural roads has exceeded expectations. Overall, however, the results have not matched expectations or needs. The projects did not contribute significantly to the establishment of effective management of community natural resources or to the development of financial services accessible to the rural poor. Furthermore, the establishment of hydraulic, educational, and sanitary infrastructure falls far short of expectations. For these reasons, the effectiveness of the portfolio is moderately unsatisfactory.

The start-up and management processes, which had formerly been relatively slow, appear to have improved considerably in the last few years. The project implementation-to-disbursements ratio has systematically been very low, which is explained among other reasons, by the weak capacity of the project management units, frequent interruptions of financing, and the fact that all the projects completed in Niger took at least one year longer than planned. The cost of project implementation is generally below standard costs in Niger, particularly thanks to the good involvement of communities and government services in the works, and to favourable topographical and climate conditions. Returns on investments however vary considerably in function of the possibilities of assessing their value and the difficulties in doing so. The project components related to rural finance have generally generated significant losses of funds to the detriment of the efficiency of the portfolio. Consequently, this aspect is moderately unsatisfactory.

An assessment of the impact of the projects on rural poverty indicates that they have contributed significantly - albeit within a limited area - to improving the income and food security of rural families thanks to interventions in the fields of farm production, natural resource management, and off-farm activities. However, in many cases, this improvement is vulnerable to external shocks. The portfolio has also had a modest impact on human capital development, especially in education and health; social capital, and empowerment, particularly for women; and rural institutions and policies. Accordingly, the impact of the portfolio on rural poverty has been moderately satisfactory.

To ensure the sustainability of the results, the projects provided for exit strategies essentially based on the participation of grass-roots organizations and on building their capacity, two aspects that in themselves vary considerably in sustainability. The sustainability of the results in natural resource management and agricultural production is quite good thanks to the simplicity of the structures and the close involvement of the population. However, land tenure insecurity, poor management of water, and land degradation are threats that weigh on that sustainability. The sustainability of socioeconomic infrastructure varies in function of the quality of its construction and the competence of the government services that take it over. Training and advisory services for project beneficiaries are doomed to disappear at project completion. This because little efforts were made to bolster the capacity of the decentralized technical services and because local services, whose development was encouraged by the projects, are insufficiently are supported once outside funding is exhausted. Consequently, the sustainability of the results of the projects in the IFAD portfolio is moderately unsatisfactory.

IFAD's portfolio in Niger has promoted many agroecological, social, institutional, and methodological innovations, thanks to the tripartite relationship between the projects, research institutions, and beneficiary groups. Agroecological innovations are disseminated virtually spontaneously, as long as the technologies are simple and useful. For the institutional and methodological innovations, on the contrary, dissemination often stumbles against a lack of means or institutional obstacles. Given the above, the performance of the portfolio in the area of innovation is satisfactory.

Performance of the partners. The Government of Niger has recently established a coherent economic and social development framework which facilitates the insertion of projects, progress in governance, and the improvement of the country's macroeconomic situation. However, the structural weakness of the administration and the decentralized technical services, the political instability, and the lack of realism in the design of projects as far as the absorption capacity of government institutions is concerned, are factors that have limited the Government's performance, which has had very negative consequences on the performance of the portfolio. Despite the many obstacles, IFAD has continually maintained a loan portfolio in Niger that is consistent with national priorities and the needs of the rural poor. IFAD has made considerable efforts in the area of partnerships, particularly through joint programming and promotion of the coordination mechanism among the technical and financial partners in the Maradi region. However, portfolio management has suffered from overly light indirect supervision and communications difficulties. The evaluators also question the merit of the recent decision to end two projects early. The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), IFAD's main cooperating agency in Niger, has acquitted itself well in loan administration, although the slowness with which it has processed non objections and disbursement requests has resulted in delays in the provisioning of projects. UNOPS has carried out supervision missions at regular intervals, but its recommendations deal mainly with general aspects of project management and neglect strategic directions and their results. This gap can perhaps be explained by the narrow composition of the supervision teams and the insufficient frequency and length of the missions. Applying the outsourcing principle, the projects subcontract many activities to NGOs, private enterprises, and grass-roots organizations. The performance of the NGOs is quite weak because of their lack of capacity, which often translates into a work overload for the project teams. The Maradi region has a network of competent entrepreneurs, thanks to the many donor interventions that have already taken place. However, private enterprises do not perform strongly for three reasons: insufficient technical and managerial capacity, lack of equipment, and lack of control by government services. Grass-roots organizations have made an important contribution to the development activities initiated under IFAD projects. However, these organizations present many shortcomings: illiteracy, poor grasp of procedures, lack of transparency, weak financial and technical capacity, etc.

Non-lending activities. IFAD's programming has the merit of mobilizing multiple technical assistance grants (for more than US$1.6 million) and incorporating them into different projects, thereby assuring good synergy between grants and loans. These grants in different fields have had a positive impact on the implementation of IFAD projects. However, the results obtained from the grants have not always benefited from a strategy to capitalize on and disseminate the lessons learned. IFAD's participation in policy coordination has essentially been through cofinanced projects and some technical-cooperation grants. Pertinent issues have been addressed, such as the national microfinance strategy, regionalization of the rural development strategy, and the national cereal banks management strategy. With regard to partnerships, IFAD's participation has been satisfactory, particularly through its involvement in joint programming under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the prominent role it played in the adoption of the Maradi Letter of Understanding, the cofinancing of projects with other technical and financial partners, and the coordination mechanism between the Government and the partners in Maradi (although the mechanism has never really functioned, particularly because of the difficulties encountered by the Agricultural and Rural Rehabilitation and Development Initiative Project). Knowledge management was very weak in the first IFAD projects evaluated under the CPE, but with the PPILDA project, IFAD's programme has paid increasing attention to this aspect since 2006-2007. The performance of non-lending activities as a whole is moderately satisfactory.

Performance of the COSOPs. The two country strategies (1999 and 2006) were prepared before the new IFAD guidelines on results-based country strategic opportunities programmes. Hence, these COSOPs did not provide for a coherent and methodical lending and non-lending activities programme, or for pilot projects or monitoring and evaluation. However, both COSOPs present a sound analysis of the structural causes of poverty in the country and their strategic objectives coincide with national development policies and strategies in effect and with IFAD's mandate. The 1999 COSOP responded well to the needs of the rural poor, since it aimed at securing natural productive potential, diversifying economic activities with a view to their integration into markets, strengthening their means of action through grass-roots organizations, and improving access to social services, particularly for women. However, the need to develop financial services for the rural poor was not firmly rooted in an analysis of the needs of that population, and the COSOP failed to realize the risks inherent in the vast geographic area and the very wide thematic diversity of the interventions. The current COSOP, which dates from 2006, is very strongly shaped by the 2004-2005 food crisis, since it combines an approach of short-term, post-crisis relief and a long-term development approach. It rightly proposes to focus on interventions in the Maradi region and to extend the beneficiary-targeting approach to the entire region with respect to the enhancement of local know-how and innovation, but it ignores the great potential that lies in developing a strategic partnership with the decentralized technical services.

The strategic objectives of the COSOPs correspond by and large to those of the project portfolio. The objectives to improve natural resource management, secure and intensify agricultural production, and improve and diversify sources of income have been partly achieved, particularly through the promotion of assisted natural regeneration, soil and water conservation measures, small irrigation projects, and the promotion of income-generating activities for women. Community organization was encouraged by building the capacity of different organizations, although they did not become very self-sufficient outside the projects. The objective of limiting the impact of the food crisis was achieved on the local scale, thanks to the installation of village warehouses and, on a larger scale, with the preparation of a national cereal bank management strategy. However, the objectives to improve access by the rural population to financial services and to develop social and economic infrastructure were generally not attained. Thus, the performance of the COSOPs was moderately satisfactory.

Assessment of the overall partnership between IFAD and the Government. Based on portfolio performance, non-lending activities, and the COSOPs, the overall partnership between IFAD and the Government has been moderately satisfactory. The following table summarizes the scores given by the CPE to the different evaluation criteria.

Summary of the CPE Appraisal of Niger

Evaluation Criteria

Scorea

Portfolio performance

4

Performance of non-lending activities

4

COSOP performance

4

Overall partnership between IFAD and the Government

4

a)   The scores are: 1=very unsatisfactory; 2=unsatisfactory; 3=moderately unsatisfactory; 4=moderately satisfactory; 5=satisfactory; and 6=very satisfactory

Recommendations

In view of the preparation of a new COSOP for Niger, the CPE makes the following four strategic recommendations: (i) continue to target interventions to the Maradi region, by strengthening the capacity of local institutions and by supporting diversification of the income of the rural poor; (ii) promote the adoption of a programme approach in the Maradi region by supporting the development of the regional rural development strategy for Maradi ensuring that IFAD interventions in the region are aligned with that strategy; (iii) make full use of non-lending activities (partnerships, knowledge management, and policy dialogue) to encourage innovation and scaling up; and (iv) make adjustments to IFAD's operating model to adapt it to the particular context in Niger.

Recommendation 1. Focus the strategic priorities of IFAD's programme in Niger first on building institutional capacity and then on diversifying rural income, keeping the geographic focus on the Maradi region. The ARRDI-ISC will build the capacity of communes and the decentralized technical services (particularly agropastoral organizations) to improve the structure and effectiveness of production chains. The next IFAD project financed through the 2010-2012 PBAS allocation should aim at diversifying sources of rural income, paying special attention to irrigated market gardening, livestock, and off-farm income-generating activities. The project should promote access by the rural poor to markets and the reinforcement of private services, taking a cross-cutting approach based on partnerships.

Recommendation 2. Accelerate the transfer to a programme approach integrated with the rural development strategy for the Maradi region. This involves supporting the process of regionalising the rural development strategy for Maradi, as the Government would like to see, and fully integrating IFAD's financial interventions with the regional strategy, which will then constitute the "programme" which the Government would control. The process of developing the new COSOP and, in particular all the analyses that will support it, should be used to provide the Government and the technical and financial partners operating in the region with a deeper understanding of local constraints and opportunities in rural development. The strategic guidelines and procedures for implementing IFAD's new COSOP should be defined jointly with the national and regional governments and the technical and financial partners active in the Maradi region. The new COSOP should make provision for non-lending activities to assist the local partners (Government and civil society) in preparing the regional rural development strategy for Maradi, and to support coordination of its implementation, and its monitoring and evaluation.

Recommendation 3. Continue to promote innovation and its scaling up in order to contribute to the diversification of the income of the rural poor. The fields in which IFAD has built up some experience in Niger and for which it is necessary to find innovative solutions are primarily natural resource management, small-scale irrigation, access to land, access to markets, and strengthening the means of action of marginalized social groups, particularly women. Other pertinent fields undoubtedly merit greater attention, such as sedentary livestock raising and off-farm activities. IFAD and the Government should make full use of the experience of the beneficiary-targeting approach with regard to the identification and promotion of innovations in the rural areas without, however, neglecting to capitalize on innovations and their scaling up beyond the projects and the Maradi region. To that end, the new COSOP should develop a realistic strategy to promote the up scaling of innovations produced from interventions in the field, making full use of non-lending activities.

Recommendation 4. Adapt IFAD's operating model to Niger's particular context, given that the country faces virtually all the difficulties experienced by the poorest countries. Given the wide differences in the capacity of public and private service providers in Niger in the technical and managerial fields, partners for project implementation should be chosen more selectively, based on their capacity, and adequate technical assistance should be provided destined to be phased out over time. It is also necessary to seek simplicity in project objectives and activities, given the implementation capacity of the partners which should, however, gradually increase. Also, in view of the often unforeseeable nature of developments in Niger, sufficient flexibility must be built into the design of interventions so they can be adapted in function of how the situation evolves. Supervision and support for implementing the activities financed should be further strengthened with enhanced participation by IFAD, the Government, and the other partners involved. The length and frequency of supervision missions should be increased and lending agencies with international standing should be called upon to provide regular technical assistance commensurate with needs.

 

 

 

LANGUAGES: English, French

Argentina Country Programme Evaluation

Argentina  
enero 2010

Resumen Ejecutivo

El primer préstamo del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA) a Argentina fue aprobado en 1988 con el objeto de reducir la pobreza rural mediante créditos con asistencia técnica para pequeños productores. Posteriormente, a partir de mediados de 1990, el Gobierno de Argentina y el FIDA promovieron además las organizaciones de pequeños productores, la inserción de beneficiarios en el mercado, el fortalecimiento de instituciones para el desarrollo rural y la protección a grupos vulnerables. Estas intervenciones fueron apoyadas por el FIDA mediante financiamiento (USD 84 millones) para cinco proyectos (costo total USD 150 millones) y una donación para asistir en la formulación de una estrategia de desarrollo rural (USD 778 000). El país se benefició además de cinco donaciones subregionales de apoyo al Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR) (USD 4,9 millones) y quince donaciones para la gestión del conocimiento en América del Sur (USD 11,2 millones). Estas actividades constituyen el objeto de esta primera evaluación del programa en el país (EPP) llevada a cabo por la Oficina de Evaluación del FIDA (IOE).

La EPP encontró que la colaboración global entre el FIDA y el Gobierno de Argentina ha sido moderadamente satisfactoria. El diálogo político, un área de máxima importancia para el FIDA, ha sido el aspecto más exitoso de esta colaboración. Mediante el diálogo político, el FIDA apoyó al Gobierno en mejorar instituciones y políticas de desarrollo rural. El FIDA acompañó y promovió discusiones de política a nivel subregional, facilitó la participación de organizaciones de pobres rurales en el diálogo político y apoyó la generación y diseminación del conocimiento sobre políticas de desarrollo rural y agricultura familiar. Estas actividades contribuyeron a generar debate sobre la pobreza rural en Argentina y aumentaron la visibilidad del sector en un país tradicionalmente orientado a la agro-industria exportadora. Este proceso de diálogo político liderado por el Gobierno junto con las organizaciones de agricultores familiares y respaldado por el FIDA llevó a la creación de una nueva institucionalidad fortalecida para el desarrollo rural y la agricultura familiar, la cual cambió radicalmente en los últimos tres años, culminando en 2009 con la creación de una Secretaría de Desarrollo Rural y Agricultura Familiar dependiente del nuevo Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca.

A pesar de los resultados altamente exitosos del diálogo de políticas, el balance global de la cooperación entre el FIDA y Argentina se vio afectado por un desempeño moderadamente insatisfactorio de la cartera de proyectos. De los cinco proyectos aprobados desde que el FIDA comenzó actividades en Argentina a fines de 1983, sólo dos proyectos han terminado. Dos proyectos fueron reorientados después de haber sido declarados "en riesgo" por el FIDA debido a su bajo progreso en la implementación. Por otra parte el quinto proyecto aprobado –declarado efectivo en diciembre de 2009– muestra progresos significativos para su puesta en marcha con una expedita incorporación de las provincias participantes.

La pertinencia de la cartera es calificada como moderadamente satisfactoria. Los proyectos en general responden a las prioridades del Gobierno y a las necesidades de los pobres rurales. Sin embargo, algunos objetivos en áreas importantes como la incorporación del pequeño productor a la banca comercial y la creación de mercados para la provisión de servicios técnicos fueron poco realistas en el contexto rural del país y no compartidos en su totalidad por el Gobierno de Argentina. Por otra parte, el FIDA no tomó suficientemente en cuenta las dificultades institucionales del contexto de país. La capacidad institucional en el sector público de las provincias es limitada, y las relaciones institucionales, económicas y políticas entre los gobiernos provinciales y el gobierno federal son complejas. Además, el país experimentó, durante el período evaluado, una alta volatilidad política y económica, incluyendo una grave crisis financiera y múltiples cambios ministeriales a principios de la década del 2000. En este contexto, el FIDA aceptó el desafío de diseñar e implementar una cartera de proyectos respondiendo al esquema solicitado por el Gobierno de un programa descentralizado con ejecución provincial de los proyectos. El programa fue diseñado e implementado de una manera relativamente estándar, desde Roma, con procesos de consulta en algunos casos insuficientes a nivel del país y sin tomar en cuenta suficientemente diferencias en procedimientos y reglamentos de operación de las tres partes involucradas (el FIDA, nación y provincias).

En conjunto la eficacia de la cartera se califica como moderadamente insatisfactoria. De los únicos dos proyectos terminados sólo el Proyecto de Desarrollo Rural de las Provincias del Noreste (PRODERNEA) ha alcanzado objetivos importantes. La asistencia técnica de los sub-proyectos promovió tecnologías rentables y adecuadas con relación al capital social disponible. El apoyo a las poblaciones vulnerables, incluyendo jóvenes, mujeres y poblaciones aborígenes, aunque pequeño en escala, ha sido también satisfactorio. Sin embargo, el apoyo a la provisión de servicios financieros rurales (26% de la inversión total del FIDA en el país) ha sido un problema difícil de resolver debido a la limitada institucionalidad del sector financiero en la economía rural. Los dos proyectos recientemente reorientados están retrasados, si bien se observan avances positivos en la implementación, principalmente en Proyecto de Desarrollo Rural de las Provincias del Noroeste (PRODERNOA). La eficacia del quinto proyecto Programa de Desarrollo de Áreas Rurales (PRODEAR), no se puede evaluar todavía porque recién ha comenzando a operar.

La eficiencia de la cartera se califica como moderadamente insatisfactoria. La entrada en vigor e implementación de la cartera de proyectos ha sufrido enormes retrasos (doble del promedio de América Latina), comprometiendo la eficiencia y eficacia de la cartera. Los retrasos de estos proyectos han elevado los costos de organización y administración. En el caso del PRODERNEA, los costos de administración alcanzaron un 29% de los costos totales durante la ejecución del proyecto, limitando la disponibilidad de fondos para los beneficiarios. El PRODEAR, aunque bien diseñado, también sufrió importantes retrasos debido principalmente a la inestabilidad política sufrida por el país en el período entre aprobación y declaración de efectividad del proyecto (36 meses). Fue muy difícil para el FIDA reaccionar a tiempo desde Roma ante los cambios políticos imprevistos observados durante este período. La falta de presencia física del FIDA en Argentina ha dificultado la ejecución de programas rurales complejos que a menudo requiere de solicitudes de no objeción que se demoran más de lo necesario al administrarse principalmente desde Roma. Por otra parte, Argentina es uno de los países apoyados por el FIDA más distantes geográficamente de Roma, lo cual presenta dificultades adicionales a la gestión del programa.

La importancia de reducir los retrasos en la cartera no puede ser enfatizada suficientemente. El Gobierno Federal se ha visto obligado en algunos casos a amortizar los préstamos del FIDA casi inmediatamente después de recibir los desembolsos ya que los retrasos han eliminado gran parte de los períodos de gracia. Consecuentemente, el financiamiento del FIDA a los proyectos desaparece en la práctica ya que los recursos transferidos a las provincias terminan proviniendo del Gobierno Federal. En estas condiciones, el flujo neto de recursos del FIDA a Argentina se hace negativo con lo que disminuye el incentivo para Argentina de recibir financiamiento del FIDA. Por otra parte, el nivel de los recursos ordinarios asignados por el FIDA a Argentina es relativamente reducido, lo que sólo permite nuevas operaciones relativamente pequeñas. En las condiciones actuales de asignación de recursos y mientras no se produzca un incremento en el nivel de desembolsos, el flujo neto de recursos del FIDA hacia el país sería negativo.

Cabe hacer notar que la asignación de recursos del FIDA a Argentina se realiza en el marco del cálculo efectuado según los criterios del Sistema de Asignación de Recursos basado en Resultados (PBAS, sigla en inglés). Estos criterios, al aplicarse en forma relativamente estándar, no toman suficientemente en cuenta las circunstancias especiales del contexto de país. Aunque Argentina es un país de renta media-alta, con un nivel promedio de población rural relativamente bajo (11%), el país tiene un elevado nivel de desigualdad en los ingresos y una alta dispersión en los porcentajes regionales de población rural. Cifras oficiales indican que Argentina tiene áreas geográficas –especialmente en el norte– con población total, porcentaje de población rural e indicadores de pobreza rural mayores que en algunos países de renta baja. Por otra parte, las cifras oficiales están basadas en una definición administrativa de población rural. Otras mediciones, basadas en una definición económica y/o geográfica, sugieren que la población rural podría llegar a ser 45% de la población total.

Es temprano todavía para determinar con rigurosidad el impacto sobre la pobreza rural de la cartera apoyada por el FIDA en Argentina. De los cinco proyectos que componen la cartera, tres están en ejecución, con dos de éstos recién comenzando a operar. Sin embargo, el impacto de los proyectos terminados es calificado como moderadamente satisfactorio en base principalmente a los resultados obtenidos por el proyecto PRODERNEA. En efecto, un estudio de impacto estimó que en términos globales los ingresos de los hogares beneficiarios aumentaron en relación al grupo de comparación en aproximadamente 35%, incluyendo aumentos del orden de 71% en Misiones y 73% en Corrientes. No hubo estudio de impacto en el caso del proyecto Programa de Crédito y Apoyo Técnico a Pequeños Productores del Noreste Argentino (PNEA).

La sostenibilidad de la cartera es considerada moderadamente satisfactoria, respaldada por el hecho de que las instituciones administrativas para el desarrollo rural creadas por los proyectos terminados han continuado funcionando, si bien a un nivel reducido debido a problemas presupuestarios. La mayor garantía de sostenibilidad, sin embargo, está dada por la permanencia y fuerza de las organizaciones rurales de base que se han creado mediante el apoyo del FIDA. La creación del Foro Nacional de Agricultura Familiar (FONAF), la creación de la Sección Nacional de la Reunión Especializada de Agricultura Familiar del MERCOSUR (REAF) y la de los foros provinciales de la agricultura familiar permiten pronosticar como probable la sostenibilidad de los programas y proyectos terminados y en ejecución apoyados por el FIDA.

La cartera de proyectos financiada por el FIDA fue innovadora aun en aquellos casos en que el desempeño fue inferior al esperado. El trabajo descentralizado con las provincias del Norte en el sector de desarrollo rural iniciado por el PNEA a fines de 1980 –y continuado por los siguientes proyectos apoyados por el FIDA– ha constituido una innovación institucional importante que ha contribuido a la apropiación del programa desde las provincias, crear capacidad institucional que antes casi no existía, y a mejorar las relaciones entre el centro y las provincias. Por otro lado, la política participativa que se generó en el país en apoyo al desarrollo rural y la agricultura familiar ha sido también una innovación importante. A nivel de los proyectos, el enfoque participativo ha contribuido a la generación de numerosas ideas por el pequeño productor que son replicables e innovadoras en el contexto argentino. Las actividades en favor de poblaciones vulnerables y la creación de fideicomisos gestionados por agencias públicas o semipúblicas para proveer asistencia técnica, comercial y financiera a pequeños productores merecen especial atención. No obstante, la práctica adoptada en cuanto a la promoción de innovaciones ha sido poco focalizada y no ha sido abordada de una manera sistemática, estratégica y concentrada en áreas prioritarias.

Las actividades no crediticias (diálogo político, asociaciones y gestión del conocimiento) han constituido uno de los instrumentos más exitosos del apoyo del FIDA hacia el desarrollo rural y la agricultura familiar en Argentina. El diálogo de políticas ha contribuido a obtener cambios institucionales profundos. La gestión del conocimiento ha sido altamente satisfactoria, especialmente mediante acciones de difusión de los proyectos, de las actividades de la REAF-MERCOSUR y de la gestión de difusión de FIDAMERICA. Hay espacio, sin embargo, para mejorar en el fomento de alianzas y asociaciones con otros organismos financieros bilaterales y multilaterales que operan en el país.

Los objetivos propuestos por el documento sobre oportunidades estratégicas nacionales (COSOP, sigla en inglés) aprobado en 2004 concuerdan en general con los objetivos del Gobierno de Argentina y del FIDA, para aliviar la pobreza rural respondieron al diagnóstico de pobreza del momento, a las competencias del FIDA en el país y a las prioridades del Gobierno para combatir la pobreza rural. Por otro lado, el Proyecto de Desarrollo Rural de la Patagonia (PRODERPA) propuesto por el COSOP no reflejó inicialmente los objetivos de los gobiernos provinciales y el enfoque sub-sectorial del COSOP no coincidió con la estrategia del Gobierno en la propuesta de crear un mercado de asistencia técnica e incorporar al pequeño productor a la banca comercial.

A pesar de los desafíos enfrentados por el FIDA en Argentina y el limitado nivel de recursos invertido, el FIDA es considerado como un socio estratégico e importante para el país por su experiencia, flexibilidad y singularidad como única institución dedicada exclusivamente a erradicar la pobreza rural. A través de su acompañamiento, el FIDA ha cumplido un importante rol en su apoyo a Argentina en un proceso profundo de cambio a favor del desarrollo rural y la agricultura familiar.

La calificación global de la colaboración entre el FIDA y el Gobierno de Argentina es moderadamente satisfactoria. Estos resultados están basados en las evaluaciones de la cartera de proyectos, de las actividades no crediticias y de la evaluación del COSOP.

Calificación Global de la EPP a la Colaboración FIDA-Gobierno


Pilares Básicos de Evaluación

Calificación

Desempeño de la Cartera

3

Actividades No Crediticias

5

Evaluación del COSOP

4

Evaluación Global

4

RECOMENDACIONES

El Rol del FIDA en Argentina

Nivel de recursos y financiamiento. El Gobierno de Argentina y el FIDA deben considerar conjuntamente opciones para aumentar los recursos disponibles para financiar el desarrollo rural y la agricultura familiar en el país. Para esto se requiere: a) tomar las medidas necesarias para mejorar el desempeño de la cartera; b) revisar las definiciones de población rural relevantes para la asignación de recursos del FIDA en el marco del PBAS; y c) intensificar esfuerzos para movilizar recursos de contraparte nacional (fondos públicos, contribuciones de los beneficiarios y del sector privado) y recursos de cofinanciación por parte de otros organismos de cooperación.

Fortalecer el apoyo técnico, concentrándose en innovación y gestión del conocimiento. Para esto se requiere: a) implementar un número limitado de actividades con alto contenido de innovación; b) asegurar la calidad del apoyo técnico durante el diseño e implementación de los proyectos; c) incrementar la visibilidad de estas actividades mediante la gestión del conocimiento; d) promover la replicación o ampliación de su alcance por el Gobierno de Argentina u otros organismos de financiamiento; y e) desarrollar una agenda de innovación en una forma sistemática, estratégica y concentrada en áreas prioritarias, como por ejemplo jóvenes y micro-finanzas rurales.

Apoyar las modalidades exitosas de proveer servicios financieros rurales. El Gobierno de Argentina y el FIDA deberían intensificar sus esfuerzos para desarrollar el sector financiero rural en Argentina comenzando con un diagnóstico de la situación de las entidades financieras que atienden al sector agropecuario. El FIDA ha tenido experiencias exitosas de financiamiento rural en otros países y ha apoyado algunas pequeñas experiencias exitosas otorgando financiamiento al pequeño productor rural en Argentina. Estas experiencias deberían replicarse y ampliarse en el contexto argentino. Las siguientes dos experiencias en el contexto rural argentino merecen ser consideradas: a) créditos otorgados a través de fideicomisos gestionados por agencias públicas o semipúblicas para proveer asistencia técnica, comercial y financiera a pequeños productores; y b) créditos otorgados a cooperativas de pequeños productores rurales.

Cobertura geográfica de los programas. Dada la escasez de recursos disponible, el Gobierno de Argentina y el FIDA deberían continuar dando prioridad a las provincias del norte del país (aun dentro de un programa nacional como el PRODEAR), concentrando sus esfuerzos en lugares de alta concentración de población rural pobre y donde la dispersión de los beneficiarios no sea muy significativa.

Mayor uso de donaciones y más estrecha conexión con los proyectos. El FIDA debe continuar financiando donaciones en Argentina para promover actividades no crediticias altamente satisfactorias en relación al diálogo de políticas y a la gestión del conocimiento. Además, en apoyo a la agenda de innovación, el FIDA debería profundizar sus alianzas con instituciones de investigación en el sector agrícola argentino (p. ej. el Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria) y debe asegurar la conexión de las donaciones con los diseños de los proyectos financiados por el FIDA.

El Diseño de los Programas

Coordinación con entidades de gobierno involucradas en el programa. El FIDA debe asegurar las participaciones activas de todas las diferentes instituciones gubernamentales, tanto a nivel federal como provincial, involucradas en el diseño e implementación de los proyectos financiados por el FIDA. En especial, además de los socios tradicionales del FIDA, se debe incluir de forma temprana y sistemática a la Jefatura de Gabinete de Ministros y a los ministerios de producción de las provincias beneficiadas por el programa.

Modalidad descentralizada de la ejecución. La EPP recomienda mantener la ejecución descentralizada de los proyectos (reconocida y valorada por el Gobierno de Argentina) principalmente en aquellas provincias que han demostrado capacidad institucional y de gestión y que han alcanzado un nivel adecuado de coordinación con el Gobierno Federal a través de los proyectos vigentes. En aquellas provincias con capacidad institucional débil, se podría considerar –con la condición de contar con el acuerdo de la provincia– un modelo de gestión desconcentrada, similar a la adoptada por el Proyecto de Desarrollo para Pequeños Productores Agropecuarios, respaldada por componentes de desarrollo y fortalecimiento institucional. A largo plazo, se podría también considerar préstamos directos del FIDA, con garantía del Gobierno Federal, a aquellas provincias con suficiente capacidad institucional y fiscal. La EPP recomienda además que en la gestión descentralizada de los proyectos, la coordinación de las reglas y procedimientos de operación federal, provincial y del FIDA deben ser parte integral del diseño inicial de los proyectos, previo a la firma de los contratos de préstamo.

Presencia física en el país. La EPP recomienda que el FIDA y el Gobierno de Argentina, en el proceso de revisión de su relación de largo plazo, y en el marco de un significativo incremento de la cartera, incluyan la discusión sobre modalidades de presencia del FIDA en el país y tiempos de implementación. La EPP recomienda considerar como mínimo la contratación, lo antes posible, de un oficial de enlace nacional.

 

LANGUAGES: English, Spanish

Nigeria Country Programme evaluation (2009)

Nigeria  
septiembre 2009

The objectives of the country programme evaluation (CPE) are to assess the performance and impact of the IFAD country programme in Nigeria and develop findings and recommendations.

These will serve as building blocks for preparation of the new country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) by the Fund's Western and Central Africa Division (PA) and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

This represents the first full evaluation of the Nigerian portfolio since project funding commenced in 1985. The CPE covers the ten-year period 1998-2008, and analyses the seven loan projects (out of a total of nine) that were still ongoing at the time of the COSOP in 2000, or whose implementation is about to start.

The findings of the CPE are based on:

a desk review of existing documentation;

self-assessments by PA and three of the programme management teams including the Roots and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP), Community-based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme (CBARDP), and the Community-based Natural Resource Management Programme (CBNRMP);

a country portfolio review undertaken by PA in 2007, and a performance assessment study of two of the projects commissioned as part of the CPE; and (iv) four weeks of work by seven mission members in the country including key informant and focus group discussions with stakeholders and partners.

LANGUAGES: English

Ethiopia Country Programme Evaluation

Ethiopia  
julio 2009

IFAD assistance to Ethiopia. IFAD has provided loans totalling US$206 million to finance 13 projects in Ethiopia since 1980. A further US$288 million in cofinancing for these projects has been secured from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Belgian Survival Fund (BSF), the Government of Ireland and the World Bank. Counterpart funding from the Government of Ethiopia amounted to US$98 million, for a total project portfolio equivalent to US$592 million. IFAD's assistance to the country has also included the provision of a few small country grants, as well as some larger regional grants in which Ethiopia's estimated share is about US$4 million. Appendix 1 provides some basic data about the projects funded by IFAD in the country.

Evaluation objectives, methodology and processes. The main objectives of the country programme evaluation (CPE) have been to: (i) assess the performance and impact of IFAD-funded operations in Ethiopia; and (ii) develop a series of findings and recommendations that can serve as building blocks for the preparation of the new country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) for Ethiopia by IFAD and the Government of Ethiopia. The new COSOP will be submitted to the IFAD Executive Board for consideration during its ninety-fifth session in December 2008.

In line with the usual procedure for CPEs, this evaluation covers IFAD assistance to Ethiopia over a 10-year period (from 1997 to 2007). More specifically, it includes an assessment of 7 of the 13 loan-funded projects approved since 1980, a review of non-lending initiatives (policy dialogue, partnership-building and knowledge management) and an analysis of grant-financed activities.

The findings of the CPE are based on: (i) a comprehensive desk review of existing evaluative evidence and other documentation; (ii) self-assessments by the Eastern and Southern Africa Division (PF) and the authorities of three IFAD-assisted projects, namely the Agricultural Research and Training Project (ARTP), the Pastoral Community Development Project (PCDP) and the Rural Financial Intermediation Programme (RUFIP); (iii) surveys conducted by microfinance institutions participating in RUFIP on the results of the rural financial services that have been provided; (iv) five weeks of field work in Ethiopia by an Office of Evaluation (OE) multi-disciplinary evaluation team; (v) key informant and focus group discussions conducted during the evaluation mission; and (vi) information provided by project partners, including PF, the Government, donor organizations and others.

A preparatory mission for the CPE was conducted in May 2007, and the main evaluation mission took place in September-October 2007. Comments from the Government and PF concerning the CPE mission's aide-memoire were duly considered in preparing the CPE report, which has been enriched by a comprehensive internal OE peer review, as well as the written comments received from PF and the Government. The report has also been shared with the main cofinanciers for their comments. In addition, a senior independent adviser1 was hired by OE to review the draft final report. The main issues2 emerging from the CPE were discussed at the CPE national roundtable workshop held in Addis Ababa on 26-27 June 2008.

Economy and poverty. Despite recent impressive economic growth, Ethiopia remains among the poorest countries in the world. The population, numbering close to 80 million, have a per capita income of about US$200 (the same level reached in 1973 before the economic decline that occurred during the Derg regime of 1974-1991). Since 1992, Ethiopia has undergone a process of decentralization and market liberalization, but many economic activities continue to be managed by the State and by political parties. Moreover, the country has to deal with a number of significant macroeconomic imbalances. These disequilibria are largely attributable to low savings rates, which constrain efforts to develop Ethiopia's modest capital and technology base. About 80 per cent of the country's households obtain their livelihood from traditional low-productivity agricultural activities, which are subject to recurrent droughts. Some 39 per cent of all households are below the national poverty line (down from 46 per cent in 1996).

Poverty reduction strategies. In 2002, the Government introduced its first poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP). This was followed by a second-generation PRSP in 2005, entitled "Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP), 2005/2006 – 2009/2010". The PRSPs reflect the agricultural development-led industrialization policy which was introduced in the 1990s to give high priority to agricultural and rural development. The share of the total government budget allocated for agriculture and food security is unusually high in Ethiopia (over 10 per cent) compared to other African countries (where it is generally less than 5 per cent), and this provides a conducive environment for implementing and sustaining agriculture-related development projects.

The Quality Of The Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP)

The strategic directions for IFAD's cooperation with Ethiopia in the 1990s were set forth in the IFAD special programming mission document of 1989, which focused on promoting smallholders' incomes and farm production in low-income and food-deficit regions.

Together with the Government, IFAD formulated its first COSOP for Ethiopia in 1999. This paper outlined, among other issues, the main objectives for the country programme. There were few resources available for the preparation of the 1999 COSOP, yet its formulation was nonetheless carried out, broadly speaking, on the basis of a participatory process and in accordance with the guidelines of the time. As such, it did not include measurable objectives or indicators. Nor did it set out a detailed targeting strategy. Instead, it concentrated on: (i) a set of subsector priorities for project portfolio development (including rural finance, small-scale irrigation, agricultural diversification and marketing); (ii) portfolio management (sector development programmes, beneficiary participation, baseline and socio-economic surveys and integration of project management units in government structures); and (iii) policy dialogue directions (reorienting the role of regional agricultural bureaux, reducing the role of government in economic activities that can be performed more successfully by the private sector, and promoting the reform of land tenure systems).

The CPE has determined that the subsector priorities of the COSOP are relevant, although more analysis of the constraints on private-sector development would have been desirable, especially before a decision was made to embark on investment in agricultural marketing. Because so few resources were allocated for the preparation of the COSOP, very little analytical work was conducted as a basis for setting priorities (e.g. in terms of geographic focus, subsector engagement and so on). On the positive side, it should be noted that all subsector priorities for portfolio development have been adhered to. In addition, IFAD has financed a pastoral community development project as part of the United Nations response to the crisis situation caused by the drought in Ethiopia.

The portfolio management directions of the COSOP have generally been complied with, although limited progress has been made in conducting baseline surveys and strengthening project-level monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems. The policy dialogue objectives outlined in the COSOP were rather ambitious, especially in light of the limited human and financial resources available for pursuing these objectives. The COSOP did not present a comprehensive targeting strategy for rural poverty reduction, leaving targeting priorities and modalities to be defined within the context of individual projects and programmes. Moreover, the COSOP did not provide a great deal of guidance on how to ensure linkages and synergies among the various projects and programmes funded by IFAD in the country.

Assessment of the 1999 Ethiopia COSOP

Quality aspect of strategy

Rating

CPE assessment

Assessment of the main issues and obstacles for reduction of rural poverty

4

The COSOP briefly lists some of the main factors influencing poverty. However, a more critical assessment of the systems for research, outreach and input supply would have been pertinent in evaluating the obstacles to poverty reduction.

Relevance and clarity of general objectives and specific goals

4

The objectives of the strategy are not presented in terms of expected development results but rather in terms of directions and priorities for portfolio development, management, policy dialogue and knowledge management. It is a process rather than a results-oriented strategy. Nonetheless, portfolio development goals are clearly defined and relevant.

Analysis of IFAD's target group and its needs

3

There is insufficient analysis and consideration of spatial diversity and differences in poverty and poverty-reduction challenges.

Operationalization of the strategy

4

The directions for portfolio development and management are generally based on the contextual analysis and strategy, but linkages to agricultural marketing are weak, and the strategy for future support in this area is not fully developed.

Identification of partners and reinforcement of existing partnerships

4

Traditional partners (the World Bank and the Belgian Survival Fund (BSF)) are listed, but opportunities for developing partnerships with new cofinanciers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Ethiopian think-tanks and international research institutions (e.g. the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)) were not explored.

Knowledge management

5

The COSOP identifies lessons from past cooperation activities and places a very high priority on improving M&E systems and undertaking baseline surveys. However, specific resources for these activities are not identified in the COSOP.

Innovation, replication and scaling up

3

The COSOP does not specify any successful innovations for scaling up such activities.

Policy dialogue

5

The areas singled out for policy dialogue are relevant, although some objectives (e.g. land tenure reform) seem to be overly ambitious in view of the role and capacity of IFAD.

Overall score

4

 

6=highly satisfactory; 5=satisfactory; 4=moderately satisfactory; 3=moderately unsatisfactory; 2=unsatisfactory; 1=highly unsatisfactory.

IFAD-funded projects in Ethiopia

As mentioned above, the CPE covered 7 out of 13 loan projects which have accounted for 73 per cent of all IFAD lending to Ethiopia since 1980. The first three projects included in the CPE were designed before the 1999 COSOP and correspond to the pre-COSOP period. These projects are the Southern Region Cooperatives Development and Credit Project (SOCODEP), Phase II of the Special Country Programme and the Agricultural Research and Training Project (ARTP). The other four projects, which correspond to the post-COSOP period, are the Pastoral Community Development Project (PCDP), the Rural Financial Intermediation Programme (RUFIP), the Agricultural Marketing Improvement Programme (AMIP) and the Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP).

In addition to these loan-supported projects, the CPE assesses two small country grants and five larger grants. The latter were regional and interregional grants for Ethiopia together with other countries in the PF region. These grants have primarily financed activities of international research institutions belonging to the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), but in a few cases they have also supported activities of NGOs. Support has been furnished for a wide range of activities, from the testing of stress-tolerant cereal varieties to livestock pest control and rural finance. It is estimated that, since 1993, Ethiopia has taken part in 15 large and small regional grants having a total value of US$12 million, of which Ethiopia's "share" is estimated at US$4 million.

Overview of the Loan-funded Operations Assessed by the CPE

 

Appr.

Eff.

Clos.

Total cost

IFAD loan

Cofinanciers

CI.

Criteria evaluated

Eval. sources

US$ million

Southern Region Cooperatives Development and Credit Project (SOCODEP)

1993

1994

2005

21.9

17.45

BSF

UNOPS

All

Compl. eval., PCR

Phase II, Special Country Programme II: (Small-scale irrigation)

1996

1999

2007

31.9

22.6

Government of Ireland

UNOPS

All

Interim evaluation, PCR, field visit

Agricultural Research and Training Project (ARTP)

1998

1999

2007

90.6

18.2

World Bank

World Bank

All

Field visit, project information

Pastoral Community Development Project (PCDP)

2001

2004

2009

59.9

20

World Bank

World Bank

All

Field visit, project information

Rural Financial Intermediation Programme (RUFIP)

2001

2003

2010

88.7

25.7

African Dev. Bank

World Bank

All

Field visit, project information

Agricultural Marketing Improvement Programme (AMIP)

2004

2006

2013

35.1

27.2

None

UNOPS

Relevance

Project information

Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP)

2007

2008

2015

57.7

20 loan, 20 grant

None

Direct by IFAD

 Relevance

Project information

Performance and impact

The overall performance of the project portfolio. The portfolio's performance (measured in terms of relevance, effectiveness and efficiency) is assessed as being satisfactory4 for the post-COSOP portfolio (rural finance and pastoral community development) and moderately satisfactory for the pre-COSOP portfolio, with the exception of small-scale irrigation, which has been supported since the 1990s through three different operations.

Relevance. The objectives of the loan-supported projects have been found to be highly relevant in the case of rural finance, pastoral community development and small-scale irrigation. These projects responded to the needs of the rural poor and were aligned with the main Government and IFAD policies and strategies related to rural poverty reduction. Moreover, the lessons from the OE interim evaluation of the second phase of the Special Country Programme were duly incorporated into the recently launched Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP).

On a related issue, the CPE recognizes the importance for the Government of investing in the development of the National Agricultural Research System, which is seen as a key feature in promoting food security in the country. However, it also calls attention to the type of contribution IFAD can make to the process, especially in view of the fact that research results have often not become available until long after a project's completion. This has limited the opportunities for transferring new technologies to the rural poor and for promoting their adoption. Furthermore, while the CPE supports the introduction of research into drought-prone under-served areas, some uncertainty remains about the selected approach, which would focus on the construction of large research centres with costly infrastructure based on the assumption that highly qualified researchers could be convinced to come to remote and marginal areas and to live and work there on a permanent basis. Similar comments were made during the internal formulation process in 1998 by IFAD's Technical Advisory Division. In fact, according to the CPE, IFAD's experience with the implementation of ARTP indicates that these comments are pertinent even today.

The design of the recent agricultural marketing project is broadly consistent with IFAD's Private-Sector Development and Partnership Strategy. However, while recognizing that the marketing project has been in place for just over two years, the CPE notes that the project needs to explore opportunities for greater public-private partnerships.

Effectiveness. The effectiveness of the interventions undertaken in the areas of rural finance, pastoral community development and irrigation is assessed as satisfactory. Coverage of beneficiaries or intervention areas has been expanded beyond the levels initially planned, and the overall quality of services has matched the needs of the beneficiaries. Effectiveness has been appraised as being moderately satisfactory in the case of agricultural research (benefits to the broader research system in Ethiopia, while still limited, are potentially transferable to extension efforts and to farmers) and as moderately unsatisfactory in the case of cooperative development (there has been only limited progress in terms of the quality of services, and problems of insolvency have arisen).

In the area of pastoral community development, effective and innovative models of local governance have been introduced for planning and implementing investments in community infrastructure, as well as in income-generating activities for the poorest, and this has provided stakeholders and beneficiaries with a sense of ownership. Communities are actively engaged in the planning and implementation of microprojects to which they contribute in kind or with cash. Substantial improvements in living standards are noted.

In the sphere of rural finance, outreach efforts have achieved impressive results through the development of microfinance institutions (MFIs), which in Ethiopia can be regarded as small banks, as most of them are allowed to mobilize savings. The scope of outreach activities has expanded at an average annual rate of 34 per cent, with a total of 1.72 million clients by the end of June 2007, which corresponds to about 20% of all rural households. The average annual growth rate for outstanding loans has been 105 per cent, and the rate of expansion for net savings has been 50 per cent. Most of RUFIP's end-of-programme targets (i.e. project year 7) had already been surpassed in its fourth year. Discussions with various stakeholders in the sector indicate that RUFIP has been the major catalyst for this growth, thanks, in particular, to its facilitation of linkages between MFIs and the banking industry. RUFIP has also created a new type of microfinance institution in Ethiopia from scratch, namely rural savings and credit cooperatives (RUSACCOs). While many RUSACCOs have been created, their membership is still limited. In addition, members have received insufficient training, mainly because of delays in the AfDB-funded component, and this raises concerns about the sustainability of these cooperatives.

Small-scale irrigation projects have placed priority on districts that are classified as highly or very highly vulnerable. About 70 per cent of the schemes included in Phase II of the Special Country Programme have been in such areas. Significant progress has been made in these areas towards the main objective of increasing yields and cropping rates by expanding irrigated agriculture, and the targets for beneficiaries and for the land area to be brought under irrigation have been surpassed. However, advances have been relatively modest in the case of objectives relating to water management and the settlement of water-rights issues, user organizations, soil conservation, crop husbandry and vegetable seed production, and the development of economic activities for women.

The support provided to cooperatives (through SOCODEP) did not achieve this activity's key objective of establishing a model for cooperative development in Ethiopia. Although quantitative targets for re-registering and restructuring cooperatives were surpassed, by the end of the SOCODEP intervention these cooperatives were weak, and some were on the verge of bankruptcy. The contribution made to the development of the cooperatives' commercial activities (e.g. flour mills and retail shops) was modest. Owing to a lack of business management skills, the activities concerned were performed poorly. Today, many of these ventures have closed their doors due to competition from the private sector. In most of the credit components, loan disbursement and loan recovery were unsatisfactory.

The CPE concludes that the combined support of the World Bank and IFAD in ARTP made a significant contribution to the strengthening of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) of Ethiopia, in particular the large human resource development components funded by the World Bank. However, the effectiveness of IFAD's contribution to the transfer of technology from research institutions to farmers is assessed as moderately satisfactory. While the overall research system is generating an increasing number of agricultural technologies, the adoption of these technologies by the majority of farmers, which is expected to result in major improvements in national yields, will take many years. The reasons for this situation may be found both in the research system and in the constraints to which input supply and extension systems are subject.

Efficiency is assessed as satisfactory for rural finance, due to the favourable operating cost ratios when compared to regional standards in the industry. Efficiency is assessed as moderately satisfactory for pastoral development and small scale irrigation. While unit costs for construction are within the parameters of comparable interventions, because of the incomplete status of much of the infrastructure (pastoral development) and delays in implementation (irrigation), the benefits will accrue to the project much later than expected. Efficiency is assessed as being moderately unsatisfactory in the cases of both cooperative development and agricultural research. This is due to the fact that the level of project outputs is significantly lower than expected and to delays and high unit costs in construction and delivery. This situation is, however, attributable to many factors that are beyond the control of the project management teams, such as the focus on quantitative targets and the wide geographic coverage of activities which is called for in the project design.

Rural poverty impact

The CPE assesses the overall impact on rural poverty as being satisfactory, with the exception of the early support for cooperatives provided through SOCODEP, for which the impact is assessed as moderately unsatisfactory. Given the nature of the project, in which emphasis is placed on the construction of large research centres, the impact of the support provided for agricultural research is not rated because it could not be gauged at the time of evaluation. Because implementation of AMIP and PASIDP has begun so recently, the CPE did not assess or rate the impact of these two new projects. The CPE ratings for impact and other evaluation criteria are shown for each project or programme in Appendix 2.

Impact on household income and assets. In terms of the number of households in which income levels and asset ownership have improved, the most significant contribution has been made by the support provided for rural finance, followed by the support furnished for pastoral communities and irrigation. Rural financial services and the MFI industry are making a significant contribution to poverty reduction in Ethiopia by reaching the poor, although they do not always reach the poorest. Impact studies consistently identify widespread and significant improvements in household income, consumption and asset-building among the vast majority of MFI clients, who are mainly the "economically active poor". As is common in microfinance, the available information suggests that although some changes begin to occur when the very first loan is disbursed, it is not until after the fifth loan (usually by the fifth year) that significant improvements in income and living standards can be seen.

There is evidence that pastoral community activities are having a broader impact in terms of poverty reduction. Through an income-generating scheme, interventions have directly contributed to improving the income levels and asset accumulation of some 10,000 of the poorest community members, of whom 78 per cent are women (including female heads of household). According to the evidence gathered through focus group discussions, it appears that activities are simple and affordable for very poor households (e.g. petty trading, breeding of poultry, fattening of goats and sometimes oxen). These results can also be attributed to the effective and participatory rural appraisal which was conducted when intervention plans were being prepared. In addition, many more households may have obtained indirect income benefits from the community microprojects, in particular the water supply schemes.

Some 31,000 households in densely populated drought-prone areas have been reached through the support provided for small-scale irrigation projects, and many of these households are gradually seeing an improvement in their incomes. Findings suggest that increases in crop yields over the traditional yields are in the range of from 25 to 40 per cent, and in cases where irrigation facilities have been built around springs, the increases have been between 75 and 100 per cent. Thanks to these irrigation projects, the targeted irrigation farmers' physical and financial assets have started to increase, although experience suggests that it may take six or more years for irrigation farmers to experience the full benefits.

Food security. The most direct and significant contribution to an improvement in food security for rural households has been made by the support furnished for small-scale irrigation projects. Information collected by the OE interim evaluation team on Phase II of the Special Country Programme shows that some farmers were experiencing a reduction in the number of "hungry months" from about six to two (July and August) thanks to larger and more reliable yields and higher income. It has also been reported that the range of dietary intake is widening due to crop diversification.

The support provided for rural finance and pastoral community development has also made important direct and indirect contributions. In the case of rural finance, the various impact studies show that the first impact for new clients is consumption smoothening, as these interventions enable households to meet their food requirements throughout the year. Generally speaking, for most rural clients, the first few loans are used to purchase oxen (usually for use in ploughing, but also for sale after the oxen are fattened). Multi-access loans have permitted the diversification of the income base, and this, combined with growing savings deposits, has improved clients' capacity for coping with drought and other external shocks. In pastoral communities, many microprojects have been undertaken to improve the water supply, which enables these communities to deal more successfully with recurrent droughts. The support furnished for cooperative development made much less of a contribution than expected to an improvement in food security.

Unfortunately, no baseline surveys have been conducted on the nutritional status of children, which is often considered to be one of the most reliable indicators of overall food security. Baseline studies, although recommended in the COSOP, have generally not been conducted in IFAD-supported projects and programmes. Data on food security and child malnutrition are particularly important because Ethiopia still suffers from high levels of child malnutrition (51 per cent according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and 48 per cent according to PASDEP) even though these levels did decline somewhat in the period 1995-2005.

Market access. Providing greater access to markets has not been among the key objectives of these interventions, with the notable exceptions of AMIP and SOCODEP. Therefore, not surprisingly, the programme's contribution in this sphere has been modest when compared to the contributions made in other areas. For example, some rural finance clients who have bought oxen or other transport animals have improved their access to markets. Similar effects may be seen for some beneficiaries of the income-generating scheme supported in pastoral communities. The support for cooperative development included the construction and rehabilitation of roads, which did improve market access for some households, though fewer than targeted. Limited achievements were made in promoting viable service cooperatives that provide efficient access for their members to markets and services.

Human capital. The main contributions to development have come from the support provided to pastoral communities and the BSF-financed water supply, health and basic sanitation component of SOCODEP, while the support furnished for rural finance has made more indirect contributions. More than 10,000 staff and community members in pastoral areas have been trained, and households are starting to benefit from the services provided by health posts and new schools (although no data are available on the quality of the teaching or of the learning process). The results of the BSF health component were - according to a BSF-financed impact study and the OE project completion evaluation of SOCODEP - positive and substantial. In rural finance, the impact has been more indirect. Some impact studies have reported that some clients have improved their income levels and are therefore in a position to send their children to school. However, progress in supporting skills development by MFI staff and RUSACCO members has been modest due to the lengthy procurement procedures employed by the cofinancing partner (AfDB).

The impact of irrigation interventions on human assets, in the form of the development of skills and knowledge, has been limited by the generally poor quality of extension work, an unimaginative use of trials and demonstrations, and the limited institutional support that has been provided. While a large training programme was made available in order to provide support for cooperatives, any lasting impact on the institutions involved was undermined by frequent government restructuring and re-deployment of personnel. Furthermore, capacity-building efforts largely ignored the importance of changing people's attitudes towards the cooperative model.

Social capital. The most significant contribution made in this domain has come from the support furnished for pastoral community development. Communities have been empowered through the effective use of participatory methods and the formation of the woreda (district) development committees and community development committees, which include members from government, the private sector and civil society. These committees may serve as a model for woreda and community planning throughout the country. Significant impacts have also been observed in the area of rural finance, where credit groups, local networks and RUSACCOs are helping to develop social capital at the grassroots level. While the support for cooperatives was expected to make a major contribution to social capital development, at the project completion point most of the cooperatives were still weak, both financially and with respect to management capacity and business skills.

In the sphere of irrigation, the impact on social capital, through the establishment and strengthening of local organizations for water management, has been more limited. The situation has been complicated by the presence of three different organizations within the same scheme: the traditional water user group, the "modern" water user association (WUA) and an irrigation cooperative. Traditional water-user groups have not been utilized effectively in the move to "modern"' organizational forms (WUAs and cooperatives). The cooperative promotion departments, which are mandated to strengthen WUAs, have focused on the promotion of irrigation cooperatives, even though the cooperative concept is unattractive to some (perhaps many) farmers because of the coercive application of cooperative schemes during the Derg administration. This has been taken into consideration in the design of the latest small-scale irrigation intervention (PASIDP).

Institutional impact. The support provided for pastoral areas has effectively contributed to new approaches and systems for planning and implementing public investments at the community level. The woreda development committees and community development committees are in operation and are contributing to a sense of local ownership. The support for rural finance has made a significant contribution towards building an inclusive financial system that can sustainably address the financial needs of the poor. Mechanisms for linking the MFI sector and the banking industry have been introduced, and a diversification process has been initiated in terms of the products offered and the range of institutions servicing the poor, including RUSACCOs. Finally, the capacity of the regulatory framework in respect of both MFIs and RUSACCOS has been strengthened, in particular by helping the National Bank of Ethiopia to upgrade its Microfinance Supervision Division and give it the status of a full department. Also, some steps have been taken to reinforce self-regulatory mechanisms in the microfinance industry by supporting the Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions (AEMFI).

The overall National Agricultural Research System (NARS) of Ethiopia has been significantly strengthened through ARTP for human resource development and facilities. Through its involvement in this support effort, IFAD has helped to introduce competitive research grants and to establish the basis for improving linkages with the extension system. The chances that IFAD's support for six agricultural research centres in remote drought-prone areas will have a positive institutional impact will depend on how the current problems of these centres are solved. These problems include a failure to complete construction work, a lack of potable water, inadequate accommodation facilities, and difficulties in attracting and retaining high-quality staff. At the project's close, major efforts were reportedly being made to solve the water-supply problem.

Sustainability. It is likely that most of the benefits promoted through IFAD-supported activities will be sustained after the relevant projects come to an end. In fact, in Ethiopia, sustainability prospects are significantly better than they are, on average, for IFAD-funded projects across all regions (see table 3). In recent years, more than 10 per cent of the Ethiopian Government's budget has been allocated for agriculture and food security. Therefore, within the public domain, budgetary resources are usually available to support the continuation of activities in this field. Another positive element is that project management units are well embedded within the decentralized government structure (Phase II of the Special Country Programme, PCDP) or in permanent national organizations (RUFIP, ARTP).

High staff turnover and a thinly spread agricultural budget may, however, have a negative impact on operations. Outside the public domain, there are "sustainability threats" for some activities. The water user associations do not generate sufficient income to rehabilitate and maintain the main civil engineering structures involved in the small-scale irrigation schemes. Within the realm of rural finance, MFIs in Ethiopia have excellent portfolio quality and good operational efficiency. In spite of this, the return on assets and on equity are both negative owing to a combination of low interest rates (approximately 12-20 per cent, despite the fact that no official cap exists) and high inflation (estimated at around 40 per cent as of mid-2008), which results in negative real rates of interest. If inflation remains high, negative real lending rates may reduce people's motivation to save and may encourage borrowing for economic activities that may not be profitable in real terms. Finally, the significant shortage of inexpensive capital relative to demand may, as has been seen in other countries, result in the administrative and rent-seeking allocation of the limited supply of inexpensive capital that does exist.

Innovation, replication and scaling up. The IFAD portfolio has contributed to the introduction of a number of systems and approaches that are innovative in the Ethiopian context. For example, in agricultural research, innovations have included: (i) a system of competitive research grants; (ii) Farmer Research Groups, through which farmers are involved in research activities on an ongoing basis (this approach will be continued and scaled up with the help of funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)); and (iii) a system of research extension advisory councils which is supported by public policy and the government budget. In the area of pastoral community development, a community-driven development approach has been introduced, and the planning and management of community investments are now being conducted by the woreda (district) development committees and the community development committees. The potential exists for scaling up this approach and system, not only in pastoral areas (further funding will soon be coming from the World Bank), but nationally as well. In the sphere of rural finance, RUFIP has helped to link MFIs with the banking industry, and large MFIs are now accessing funds from commercial banks.

The regional and interregional technical assistance grants provided to Ethiopia and other countries have mostly been used to fund agricultural research on the part of international research institutions. While useful research results have been produced in areas that are relevant to Ethiopia, there have been limited linkages with the loan portfolio, and the mechanisms for replicating and scaling up these interventions have been weak. This has raised questions as to the rationale for IFAD to provide this type of support. By contrast, two small country grants for RUFIP have been used to fund preparatory studies which have proved useful for project design purposes, thus providing an example of grant use which is directly connected to the lending programme.

In general, while the Ethiopia CPE notes that projects and programmes have introduced innovations in technology or in social areas, the replication and scaling up of tried and proven innovations have not been systematic. Although recently greater efforts are being deployed in this area, in the past insufficient attention and resources have been devoted to policy dialogue, knowledge management and partnership-building, all of which are essential ingredients for replication and scaling up (see the following section). Direct supervision and the provision of implementation support, together with the maintenance of an IFAD country presence in Ethiopia since 2005, are steps in the right direction which can contribute to more effective innovation scouting and promotion.

Non-project activities

The implementation of non-lending activities (knowledge management, policy dialogue and partnership-building) has been limited, mainly because of a lack of resources and the fact that in the past a high priority has not been placed on such activities. The situation in this respect is improving, however. First, the country programme manager now has more resources available than s/he did a decade ago, which allows the manager to engage more effectively in non-lending activities. Second, the CPE found that the country presence has contributed to improvements in donor coordination, an exchange of experiences and policy dialogue.

Policy dialogue. IFAD's main contribution to policy dialogue has been made during the project design phase. Furthermore, in some cases, a policy dialogue component has been included in the project design (e.g. in the pastoral community development and rural finance projects). However, supervision reports note that policy dialogue components are lagging behind "operational" components and that engagement by government agencies has not always been as expected. The current CPE concurs with that judgement. Moreover, IFAD's contribution and capability to engage in policy dialogue at the national level has been challenged by various factors, including the limited resources available for conducting analytic work, the lack of a country presence until 2005, and the definition of an ambitious policy dialogue agenda. Finally, the Government and development partners have established a high-level forum and a technical working group on agriculture. IFAD takes an active part in these groups, which have, among other issues, discussed important policy matters relating to the sector.

Knowledge management. This area of activity was identified as a high priority in the COSOP, but limited progress has been made in this respect. As mentioned earlier, project-level M&E systems, which are at the foundation of a vibrant knowledge management system, have generally performed unsatisfactorily. Under the civil service reform programme, public institutions are improving their management information systems and are conducting planning, budgeting and reporting functions based on output targets and deliverables. However, relatively little attention continues to be paid to impact issues, and baseline and repeat surveys focusing on changes in household livelihoods are therefore generally not done. As a means of stimulating knowledge management, in 2007 IFAD launched the Country Programme Forum to facilitate contacts and meetings among IFAD project stakeholders (the Government, IFAD, other donors) with a view to exploring synergies between projects and different actors and exchanging experiences and lessons.

Partnerships. At the federal level, there is a solid partnership with the Government, especially the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and others. These agencies regard IFAD as a flexible and valuable organization that is working to reduce rural poverty by promoting innovations in remote areas, and they realize that this area of endeavour is not usually considered to be a priority by other development organizations.

In recent years, cofinancing partnerships have declined in importance as several major development partners adopted the budget-support modality. Furthermore, some of IFAD's traditional partners, such as AfDB and the World Bank, did not place priority on small grassroots-type agricultural and rural development interventions in Ethiopia in the period assessed by the CPE.

Non-governmental and civil society organizations (NGOs and CSOs) have traditionally played a less important role in development cooperation in Ethiopia than in some other African countries and have therefore not been as widely involved in IFAD-supported projects and programmes in the past. However, the capacity of NGOs and CSOs is improving and, as suggested by the experience gained in support activities for pastoral communities, NGOs and CSOs can play an important role in supporting communities and grassroots organizations. The capacity of private-sector service providers is also expanding, albeit from a low base level, and this remains an area in which further inroads can be promoted within the context of IFAD operations.

The performance of IFAD and its partners

The performance of IFAD. In the majority of cases, IFAD has contributed to good project design. This is especially the case in IFAD-initiated projects and programmes in such areas as rural finance and small-scale irrigation. As a consequence of the operating model used in the past, under which supervision was delegated to cooperating institutions, IFAD was perceived as a flexible but distant partner in project execution. With the adoption of the direct supervision and implementation support policy and the establishment of a country presence in Ethiopia, this perception is rapidly changing. The CPE found that IFAD's country presence is an importance feature of the operating model which can help to further strengthen its development effectiveness, even though the present country presence arrangements (e.g. limited resources and delegation of authority) may act as a constraint on its opportunities in the future.

Cooperating institutions and cofinanciers. The World Bank has served as the cooperating institution (CI) in three of the projects reviewed in the CPE. The best performance has been observed in PCDP, where the Bank's Ethiopia country office is in charge of the provision of support and where all items have truly been cofinanced by IFAD (40 per cent) and the World Bank (60 per cent). The least satisfactory performance was seen in ARTP, where support was provided through brief missions from Washington and where IFAD was fully financing three separate components of the project. The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) served as CI on two of the reviewed projects and provided a moderately satisfactory level of service, but did not focus enough on correcting problems faced by these projects.

The CI and cofinancing partnerships with the World Bank and AfDB have been hampered by the cumbersome procurement procedures and regulations of these organizations. This has resulted in delays in implementation, particularly in the case of research (ARTP, World Bank) but also in the area of rural finance (RUFIP), where AfDB regulations have hindered progress on the capacity-building components; this, in turn, has had a negative impact on the IFAD-financed credit component.

The performance of the Government and its agencies. The Government's overall performance is assessed as satisfactory. IFAD has been engaging in an increasingly constructive and useful dialogue with key government ministries and agencies. A useful dialogue has been maintained with the Development Bank of Ethiopia in connection with the credit component for which it is fully responsible. In the instances in which performance has not been fully satisfactory, the major problem has been a lack of clarity regarding the assignment of responsibilities. For example, in the support for cooperatives provided under the SOCODEP project, too many agencies were involved and major institutional changes took place which hurt performance.

Overall Rating

Evaluation criteria

Projects rated 4, 5, or 6*

Present CPE**

ARRI 2007***

I.     Portfolio performance

80%

80%

– Relevance

100%

93%

– Effectiveness

80%

67%

– Efficiency

60%

73%

II.   Impact

75%

80%

III.  Sustainability

80%

53%

IV.  Innovation, replication and scaling up

80%

67%

VI.  Performance of partners

 

 

– IFAD

60%

60%

– Cooperating institution

80%

67%

– Government

60%

67%

* The rating scale adopted by the Office of Evaluation is as follows: 6 = highly satisfactory; 5 = satisfactory; 4 = moderately satisfactory; 3 = moderately unsatisfactory; 2 = unsatisfactory; 1 = highly Unsatisfactory.
** Ratings considered here are those of SOCODEP, SCP II, ARTP, RUFIP, PCDP.
*** The ratings shown in the 2007 edition of the Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD Operations (ARRI)
refer to the evaluations conducted by the Office of Evaluation in 2006.

Conclusions and recommendations

Conclusions

Clear portfolio development directions, but limited analysis of resource needs. The 1999 COSOP was prepared at very little cost but provided concise and clear directions for portfolio development and non-lending activities. Given the limited resources available for its preparation, the COSOP's analytical underpinnings were, understandably, inadequate. Among other shortcomings in this regard, different typologies of rural poverty in the country were not well captured. The COSOP also implicitly assumed that policy dialogue and knowledge management would be taken care of through IFAD-financed projects, without any accompanying activity or a specific budget allocation. Finally, the COSOP did not clarify how the different subsector programmes would reinforce each other (for example, how to provide financial services, irrigation and marketing services to the same clients and communities).

Satisfactory portfolio performance. In terms of many of the key evaluation criteria used by the Office of Evaluation, the performance of IFAD-supported projects in Ethiopia has been better than the average for IFAD operations globally (see table 3). This is an achievement that warrants acknowledgement. In particular, performance has been good in areas such as small-scale irrigation, rural finance and pastoral community development, where IFAD operations have had an impact in terms of reducing rural poverty. Progress has also been made in the critical area of local governance. Performance and results have so far been more limited in the area of cooperative development and in the sphere of agricultural research, where any large-scale impact on farmers' livelihoods may not become apparent until after the relevant interventions have come to an end. This has also bee true with regard to the engagement of the private sector. Overall, sustainability prospects are good, partly thanks to the fact that the Government has allocated a sizeable share of its budget to agriculture and rural development.

Valuable innovations. Innovations have been introduced in a number of IFAD operations. Community-driven approaches have fostered local partnerships among the public sector, private enterprises and civil society. In the area of agricultural research, ARTP introduced competitive funding facilities which can also be accessed by private entities and non-governmental organizations. Participatory research activities with farmers and a system for linking up research, extension and farmers have been established. The Government of Ethiopia and some donors (the World Bank, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency) are extending further financial support for these innovations. In the area of rural finance, linkages between MFIs and banks have been facilitated, and rural savings and credit cooperatives (RUSACCOs) have been introduced. The replication and scaling up of tried and proven innovations have not received systematic or sufficient attention, however.

Opportunities for further improvements. Opportunities exist, for example, for bringing in computerized management information systems for use by MFIs and for introducing business development services for rural finance clients. In addition, IFAD has not taken full advantage of its grant programme in Ethiopia. The majority of the grant funds have gone to research projects that are not closely enough linked to the lending portfolio, while small grants that are tied into a given project have proved their validity for generating useful knowledge and piloting innovations.

Project design. Project design has generally been of good quality. However, in the case of agricultural research (ARTP), concerns expressed by the Technical Advisory Division about the project design were not fully responded to. The CPE finds that these concerns are still pertinent.

Supervision and implementation support. Under IFAD's traditional operating model, these functions have generally been outsourced to cooperating institutions. This is now changing, however, with the implementation of IFAD's new supervision policy. The evaluation considers this to be a good policy that is likely to enhance IFAD's development effectiveness in the country. Cases of complex and "heavily procedural" approaches to procurement have been observed in the context of ARTP and RUFIP which have caused delays and hurt performance.

Since its establishment of a country presence, IFAD has been becoming a more active partner. IFAD's field support officer is now participating regularly in supervision and implementation support missions, which contributes to better communication and knowledge management. IFAD's country presence is still limited, however, especially in terms of delegation of authority and the resources available.

Recommendations

Target food-deficit areas. Poverty rates are higher and development challenges are more significant in Ethiopia's drought-prone food-deficit areas. For IFAD, this constitutes a rationale for focusing on food-deficit districts and for supporting dynamic economic changes in the rural economy through trickle-down effects (e.g. through microfinance and support for the development of small businesses and microenterprises in rural areas), as well as for supporting the development of agriculture (irrigation) and livestock assets with the view to improving food security. In planning and implementing such support, attention should be devoted to identifying measures that will promote linkages between different subsector-specific programmes (for example, linkages between rural finance, on the one hand, and small-scale irrigation and agricultural marketing, on the other).

Build on successes. For the coming 10 years, priority should be given to areas in which IFAD has developed a lead position, such as small-scale irrigation and rural finance. However, in the case of rural finance, a second phase will depend on the findings of the interim evaluation to be conducted in 2009 and, in particular, on progress in addressing the current problem of negative interest rates. As the inflation rate is heavily influenced by macroeconomic aggregates which are beyond IFAD's control, IFAD needs to raise the issue. It is also important to discuss the realignment of the interest rates charged by MFIs in order to address the problem posed by negative returns on assets and equity. Support for pastoral community development, which was initiated by the World Bank, has been a success for which continued IFAD involvement seems justified subject to a continued commitment on the part of the Government of Ethiopia to the involvement of NGOs, communities and CSOs in local development planning. Currently, IFAD is participating in the formulation of an operation to support sustainable land-use management around Lake Tana, which, if approved, will open up a new strategic focus area for IFAD. Natural resource degradation is an issue that clearly warrants attention, but the strategy for dealing with this problem needs to be carefully worked out.

Use grants as a "smart" tool for knowledge management and the promotion of innovations. IFAD should increase the use of grants for preparatory studies, baseline surveys and impact studies, which could be outsourced to independent third parties (agencies other than the implementing institutions). This would be a more effective use of grant resources than free-standing research programmes that do not have direct linkages to the loan portfolio and lack mechanisms for dissemination to rural households. Grants should also be used for scouting, testing and promoting successful innovations.

Anchor the policy dialogue in IFAD operations. While project design and implementation offer opportunities for policy dialogue, supplementary activities (e.g. analytical work, workshops, attending donors' groups) at the national level may also be needed, and grant resources should be allocated for this purpose. In addition, well-targeted study tours for government officials should be considered an effective policy dialogue tool.

Continue current partnerships and intensify efforts to partner with NGOs, the private sector and bilateral donors. Opportunities exist for building partnerships among the public sector, civil society and the private sector at the regional and subregional level (as tested in pastoral community development operations). Such partnerships are particularly helpful in supporting water user associations in irrigation projects. Based on an early review of AMIP, the CPE recommends that ways and means be found to strengthen public-private partnerships. IFAD should also more actively explore partnership opportunities with some bilateral donors that are working in the areas of agriculture and rural development. Finally, lessons learned from experiences in rural finance indicate that efforts should be made to avoid complex cofinancing arrangements under which each organization applies its own specific regulations, especially in the area of procurement.

Strengthen the IFAD country office. Given the scale of IFAD operations in the country, the CPE recommends that the current country presence arrangements be strengthened. In this connection, consideration could be given to outposting the country programme manager.


1/ Mr Seydou Traoré, former Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Mali.

2/ The three main themes discussed at the workshop were as follows: (i) Improving the IFAD Country Programme Approach; (ii) The development of a results-based management framework; and (iii) Towards better implementation capacity.

3/ Figures derived from the following sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators 2006; UNDP, Human Development Report 2005; Economist Intelligence Unit, Ethiopia Country Profile, 2006.

4/"Relevance" is defined as the extent to which the objectives of a development intervention are consistent with beneficiaries' requirements, country needs, institutional priorities and partners' and donors policies. An assessment of a project's coherence in achieving its objectives is also entailed. "Effectiveness" refers to the extent to which the development intervention's objectives were achieved, or are expected to be achieved, taking into account their relative importance. "Efficiency" is a measurement of how economically resources/inputs (funds, expertise, time and so on) are converted into results.

5/IFAD uses a six-point rating scale in which 1 represents the lowest score and 6 the highest. A 5-point rating is considered to be satisfactory.

LANGUAGES: English

Nigeria Country Programme evaluation (2009)

Nigeria  
enero 2009

Executive Summary

Introduction and background

Evaluation objectives, methodology and process. The objectives of the country programme evaluation (CPE) are to assess the performance and impact of the IFAD country programme in Nigeria and develop findings and recommendations. These will serve as building blocks for preparation of the new country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) by the Fund's Western and Central Africa Division (PA) and the Federal Government of Nigeria. This represents the first full evaluation of the Nigerian portfolio since project funding commenced in 1985. The CPE covers the ten-year period 1998-2008, and analyses the seven loan projects (out of a total of nine) that were still ongoing at the time of the COSOP in 2000, or whose implementation is about to start. The findings of the CPE are based on: (i) a desk review of existing documentation; (ii) self-assessments by PA and three of the programme management teams including the Roots and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP), Community-based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme (CBARDP), and the Community-based Natural Resource Management Programme (CBNRMP); (iii) a country portfolio review undertaken by PA in 2007, and a performance assessment study of two of the projects commissioned as part of the CPE; and (iv) four weeks of work by seven mission members in the country including key informant and focus group discussions with stakeholders and partners.  

A preparatory mission fielded in October 2007 was followed by the main mission in November/December 2007. Comments from the Government, programme managers and PA were taken into account in preparing this report. A round-table workshop was held in Nigeria in November 2008, the outputs of which inform the preparation of the Agreement at Completion Point between the Government and IFAD.

Country perspective. Nigeria is the world's twelfth largest producer of oil. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased fivefold since 1990 and stands in 2007 at US$140 billion, giving a GDP per capita of over US$1,000 and expected, consistent current-account surpluses of ten per cent of GDP per year. However, the country's 140 million people are still among the poorest in the world: the country is ranked 158 out of 177 nations in the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and 80 out of 108 in the Poverty Index. Income disparity and widespread poverty persist despite burgeoning foreign revenues. Until the return of democratic government in 1999, Nigeria was characterized by a series of military dictatorships, economic mismanagement and blatant corruption; some of these issues remain as challenges to this day.

Apart from the oil sector, the economy is agrarian-based and the bias of poverty is to the rural areas; the incidence of poverty reaches as much as 80 per cent in some northern States compared with the 64 per cent national average. Agriculture is the mainstay of rural livelihoods and social fabric and still accounts for about 45 per cent of GDP and 60-70 per cent of employment, but its importance is declining in the face of growth of other sectors and diminishing farm returns. Government and donor efforts to stimulate expansion and commercialization, in line with the prioritization of agriculture as a main plank in the poverty reduction and economic growth strategy, have yet to yield the desired change. The sector is dominated by smallholders: small farms, ranging in size from one to five ha, account for over 90 per cent of output; over half of all farmers produce only food crops in the production, processing and marketing of which women play the major role. Nigeria is Africa's largest producer of yam and cowpea, and the world's leading producer of cassava1, and a major fish producer with annual outputs of over 300,000 tons.

Government policy for rural and regional development is set out in the National Empowerment and Economic Development Strategy (NEEDS) and complementary state and local strategies. The goals of NEEDS include: poverty reduction, wealth creation, and employment generation, to be achieved through: (i) empowering people and improving the delivery of social services; (ii) fostering private-sector-led growth in an appropriate enabling environment; and (iii) enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of government.

In Nigeria's 2008 budget, NGN121 billion (US$1bn) is to be devoted to agriculture, more than trebling the previous allocation. The budget does not specify poverty funding separately, but the implied allotment for NEEDS in 2007 was NGN1,391 billion (US$11.6bn). Total official development assistance (ODA) in 2006 reached US$280 million, equivalent to US$2 per capita, compared with the average of US$28 per capita for Africa. ODA plays a minimal role in Nigeria. Principal donors are the European Union, World Bank, UNDP, Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The current annual IFAD allocation of US$51.85m places it as one relatively minor donor and IFAD expenditures are also minimal compared with state and Local Government Area (LGA) budgets. By general consent, IFAD funding - and experience and expertise - are valued mainly for their catalytic effect.

The Country Strategy and IFAD-funded operations

The 2001-2007 COSOP, the first formal strategic planning document on Nigeria to be submitted to the Executive Board, was the result of a two-year consultative process, much of it carried out in-country among a broad group of stakeholders and including a number of workshops and studies. The document reflected IFAD's sound project track record and both government and IFAD strategic priorities, as well as those of other donors and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Key elements of the COSOP strategy are: (i) policy advocacy for pro-poor reforms and improved local governance; (ii) development of effective rural institutions; and (iii) productivity and natural resources management. Major strategic thrusts are: empowerment of core target groups and community-based organizations (CBOs) to generate higher on- and off-farm incomes; supporting expansion of access to information, communication, infrastructure and technologies; and improving access of the poor to financial and social services.

The COSOP strategy has proved to be a workable framework for the IFAD/Government partnership and for identification of development themes. The areas in which the strategy might have been stronger and more detailed were in the analysis and deduction of findings on: poverty and targeting; emphasis on agriculture; IFAD's comparative advantage; lessons of failure in credit, enterprise development and income-generating activities; implementation difficulties; the importance of partnerships; and donor collaboration. Of the key elements, development of effective rural institutions has had the greatest effect; policy advocacy has been problematic without an IFAD country presence, which was not established until 2006. Agricultural productivity and natural resources management initiatives have been relegated in importance in project funding and have proved difficult to implement owing to constraints of poverty and affordability and to households having alternative sources of income. Overall, the value of the IFAD input and the quality of the strategy output are rated as moderately satisfactory, a score of 4.2 on the IFAD evaluation scale.

The CPE covers two completed projects: Katsina State Agricultural and Community Development Project (KSACDP) and Sokoto State Agricultural and Community Development Project (SSACDP), which closed in 2001; and the three ongoing programmes: the Community-Based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme (CBARDP); Roots and Tubers Expansion Programme (RTEP); and the Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme-Niger Delta (CBNRMP), which form the core of the CPE. The two projects not yet effective – the Rural Finance Institutions-Building Programme (RUFIN) and the Rural Microenterprise Development Programme (RUMEDP) – are assessed only in terms of quality of design and strategic consistency. The geographical spread of IFAD assistance encompasses all except a few central and eastern States.

The CPE also covers 11 technical assistance (TA) and eight grants dating from 1997/1999. The value of IFAD programme loans has been US$187.2 million out of a total cost of US$641.9 million, with IFAD contributing 29 per cent; while for the grants included in the CPE, the IFAD amounts allocated have been US$9.4 million for technical assistance grants and US$0.85 million for early implementation support grants. The World Bank was the only cooperating institution involved until 2007 in the supervision of IFAD supported projects, but the RTEP, RUFIN and RUMED programmes are to be supervised directly by IFAD.

Performance and impact of IFAD-funded operations

The evolution of the portfolio up to 2006 followed a logical pattern of synergy of coverage and content, building on and expanding successful aspects of previous projects. This is best seen in the community-driven development (CDD) modality and LGA involvement; in capability–building from the Katsina and Sokoto Projects being incorporated in the CBARDP and CBNRMP; and the latter drawing lessons also from the Cassava Multiplication and Artisanal Fisheries Development Projects. Synergy in the portfolio also contributes to performance, coinciding on strong themes of enhancing social facilities and services and improving food security and incomes of poor rural households. The new RUFIN and RUMED programmes take IFAD into a different spectrum of development as to content, institutional framework for implementation and some new States.

The prevailing pattern of funding of earlier projects was planned as: IFAD contribution, 40–60 per cent; Federal Government, 12–15 per cent; and state and local governments, three or four per cent. The remaining funding relates to participating local institutions, cofinancing, and beneficiaries. Actual out-turns were of the order of: IFAD, 60–70 per cent; Federal Government, five per cent; and state and local governments 15–16 per cent. In recent programmes, LGAs have increased their contribution, with a norm of: IFAD, about 40 per cent; and all levels of government, 60 per cent. In many instances, cofinancing did not materialize as planned. Of the TA grants, all except two have been devoted to supporting regional research and development associated mainly with cassava. The exceptions were grants to NGOs for assistance in community development and benefit assessment. The early implementation support grants range from almost US$20,000 up to the US$400,000 now scheduled for RUMEDP, typical of the larger amounts now available through the IFAD grant window.

The first measure of relevance is comparison of project content with the key elements of the COSOP; on this count, there is a large degree of consonance. On other factors of relevance, including orientation to poverty, livelihood, and implementation, most of the interventions record positive results; the major exception is the second phase of RTEP, which is promoting an approach to cassava processing that is of questionable viability. The CPE observed a considerable range of implementation progress across the portfolio. Effectiveness is just one of a number of exemplary results, for instance under the CDD approach; and less impressive results, as in agricultural and natural resources conservation. The CPE has particular concerns about the prospective performance of RTEP, phase-2, RUFIN and RUMEDP. The determination of efficiency is more complex, but in Nigeria the crucial constraints of the long duration of project preparation and the prevalent delays and denials of funding militate against efficient performance. Despite these factors, individual projects have reported marked economies in construction of social infrastructure and reasonable costs per beneficiary.

The rural poverty impact of the country programme is assessed primarily on the results of KSACDP, SSACDP and the first phase of RTEP; for CBARDP and RTEP Phase-2, the discernible likely impact is also taken into account. The CPE finds that outreach to the targeted population has been less than planned. Nevertheless, there has been positive change in the predicament of direct and indirect beneficiaries across all of the projects in terms of enhanced household food sufficiency, as well as modest increases in family incomes; better accessibility of health, education and transport services; and a marked change in community and women's confidence and self-reliance. Notable impacts have been attained in the enhancement of physical and financial assets, social capital and empowerment, and food security. Less impressive impacts have been recorded in agricultural productivity, environment and common resources, and market access.

The sustainability of impact is mainly determined by project design and implementation effectiveness, but also by the Government emphasis on, and funding for, agriculture. Thus the political, economic and social facets of sustainability are reasonably assured, while institutional sustainability is less certain. IFAD interventions have clearly been innovative, as demonstrated by the replication and scaling up to 26 States of the cassava productivity activities during the first phase of RTEP; and by adoption of the CDD approach in African Development Bank (AfDB) projects and in other States, LGAs and communities, often without external funding. The RUFIN and RUMED programmes have been designed to be replicated and scaled up, but the CPE has concerns that the environment in which they are to be implemented - and the less than certain commitment of potential partners – may make this difficult to occur.

The performance of partners in delivery of the country programme has been overshadowed by the inordinate time taken for project preparation and implementation, the problems of inconsistent fund flows and the lack of urgency and decisiveness in taking action to resolve problems and improve progress. These factors impinge on the performance of all parties. IFAD's performance has been constrained by lack of an in-country presence and the complexities of dealing with government without field presence and relying on cooperating institutions for supervision. The performance of federal government agencies has been variable. It is unclear whether the present arrangement with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (FMAWR) and the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) will be sufficient for the developing of more diverse programmes. The performance of States and LGAs has been reasonable, but not always as strong as it could have been. Where it has been lacking, the performance of programme managements has been mostly due to deficient project design and is not a reflection on the calibre or dedication of the staff cadre. The performance of the cooperating institution is judged as proficient in supervision and moderately satisfactory. The performance of partners is assessed as moderately satisfactory.

The aggregate achievement of the portfolio is rated as 4.4, moderately satisfactory, with individual ratings lying between 4.0 and 4.5, except for efficiency, which is 3.5, between moderately satisfactory and moderately unsatisfactory. Innovation, replication and scaling up is rated 4.8, satisfactory.

Overall performance and impact of IFAD-funded operations in Nigeria

Evaluation Criteria

KSACDP

SSACDP

RTEP

CBARDP

CPE Assessment

Core performance criteria

 

 

 

 

 

Relevance

5

5

3

5

4.5

Effectiveness

4

4

3

5

4

Efficiency

3

4

3

4

3.5

Project performance

4

4.3

3

4.7

4

Rural poverty impact

4

4

4

5

4.3

Physical assets

5

5

5

5

5

Social capital and
empowerment

5

5

4

6

5

Food security and
agricultural productivity

4

4

5

5

4.5

Environment and common
resource

2

2

2

4

3

Financial assets and market
access

3

3

2

4

3

Institutions and services

5

5

5

6

5.3

Other performance criteria

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainability

5

5

3

4

4.3

Innovation, replication and
scaling up

5

5

4

5

4.8

Overall project portfolio achievement

4.5

4.5

3.5

4.7

4.4

Partner performance

 

 

 

 

 

IFAD

3

3

4

5

3.8

Government

3

3

3

5

3.5

Cooperating institution

4

4

4

4

4

Rating scale: 6-Highly satisfactory; 5-Satisfactory; 4-Moderately satisfactory; 3-Moderately unsatisfactory; 2-Unsatisfactory; and 1-Highly unsatisfactory.

an overall project achievement reflects the combined assessment of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, rural poverty impact, sustainability and innovation. As per the evaluation guidelines of IFAD's Office of Evaluation, the performance of partners is not included in the aforementioned calculation. The overall portfolio achievement is calculated in a similar way.

Conclusions

The pro-poor development environment in Nigeria presents an unusual set of circumstances and conditions compared with those of most IFAD borrower countries in Africa owing to its vast oil and gas reserves that provide it with high volumes of hard currency export earnings. The country therefore has adequate financial resources to promote economic and social welfare, including agricultural and rural development activities that are crucial to reducing poverty. In fact, Nigeria allocated about four per cent of its federal public expenditure to agriculture in 2007; this figure has risen to seven per cent in 2008.

It is, however, still less than the ten per cent target established by African governments at the African Union Summit on Food Security, held in Abuja in December 2006.

Despite this, Nigeria has not yet managed to resolve its rural poverty problems. The per capita gross national income was around US$620, based on 2005 data (World Bank, 2008). More recent statistics2 put the GDP purchasing power parity at US$1,256 for 2007. The challenge of poverty is illustrated by the fact that around 25 per cent of all the rural poor in sub-Saharan countries live in Nigeria. The population living below the poverty line in 20063 is 64 per cent, down from 71 per cent in 2003.

Poverty incidence has a rural bias, with an overall rural prevalence in excess of 67 per cent for all households and 77 per cent for woman–headed households. The rural population has extremely limited access to infrastructure and services such as education and health.

The ODA that Nigeria receives is extremely limited compared with the federal budget. It comprises only around 0.5 per cent of GDP, which is significantly lower than the eight per cent for developing countries as a whole and is equivalent to only US$2 per capita compared with the average of US$28 per capita for Africa. ODA figures make up around one per cent of overall public spending, which is US$14.1 billion. In such a context, therefore, the resources that IFAD provides for rural poverty reduction are minimal in terms of volume when compared with total government revenues and with the contributions of some other donors, such as the European Union and the World Bank.

In spite of this, IFAD is seen by Nigeria as an important development partner because of: its focus on sustainable agriculture and rural development as a means of reducing rural poverty; the comparative advantage of the flexibility and quality of its interventions; and its experience in participatory and bottom–up approaches and in innovative solutions to poverty alleviation that can be replicated and scaled up by the Government, the private sector, donors and others. Nigeria is entitled to more than 40 per cent of the Fund's overall financial allocations to the PA region. This high level of allocation has significant implications for the resources required and for the way IFAD manages its strategy and operations in the country.

Agriculture and rural development are crucial to Nigeria's rural economy and social fabric. Around 45 per cent of GDP is generated from agriculture and almost 70 per cent of the poor live in rural areas and derive their livelihoods primarily from small–scale agriculture and rural activities. Small farmers account for about 90 per cent of the country's food production. Limited accessibility to inputs, equipment, new technology, and markets has kept agricultural productivity low. Small farmers are also more acutely affected by exogenous factors such as climate change and rising commodity prices. Thus, given its mandate, IFAD is a natural choice as development partner, and the Government has clearly indicated its commitment to the sector in the NEEDS, the National Policy on Integrated Rural Development and the New Agricultural Policy Thrust.

On the question of the importance of agriculture, the CPE findings indicate that, with programmes devoted to rural finance and rural enterprise development in recent years, the Fund has not devoted adequate levels of attention to agricultural activities in its Nigerian operations, which would have been commensurate with the centrality of agriculture in the overall economy and as the main means of income and food security of the rural poor. In spite of its modest financial contributions, IFAD has a distinct and catalytic role, in collaboration with Government and other donors, in supporting achievement of the MDGs relating to the elimination of poverty and hunger. In sum, with its focus on enhancing the productivity of small and landless farmers, IFAD is well positioned to support the Government in improving the livelihoods of small farmers, including women, artisanal fisher folk, pastoralists and other disadvantaged communities.

Promotion of replicable innovations

The Fund has been fairly successful in promoting pro-poor innovations in its operations. The grant-funded support to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture for research on developing new cassava varieties and for promoting CDD in projects in Katsina and Sokoto States and ongoing community-based programmes, are examples of successful innovations. The CPE finds that a number of successfully tested innovations in IFAD operations have been replicated and scaled up by local governments and others. A more systematic and organized effort by IFAD might have ensured a wider replication and scaling up of successfully promoted innovations in IFAD operations.

Related to the above, the evaluation found that insufficient human and financial resources and time were devoted to IFAD engagement in policy dialogue, knowledge management and the development and nurturing of strategic partnerships with key players in agriculture. These are important ingredients for replication and scaling up, which is in fact the ultimate test of IFAD's capacity to promote innovations. Even though there are some improvements in such activities as a result of the recent establishment of the country presence office, IFAD's performance in non-lending activities was only moderately satisfactory.

The CPE concludes that the innovation promotion process was not systematic, and that the synergies between grant- and loan-funded activities could have been greater. Moreover, the innovations promoted were not sufficiently integrated into broader project activities that would have allowed them to contribute more effectively to achieving project objectives. For instance, while the demand-driven CDD approach was appreciated by the rural poor and their organizations, little attention was devoted to positioning CDD within the broader local governance framework with linkages to the private sector, such as banks that could have provided credit for enterprises and income–generating activities.

Local governance

IFAD interventions have contributed to changing the mind-set of the local governments and community leaders towards local governance through an inclusive process of decision making. Positive results include, in particular, under the community-driven development (CDD) approach: (i) pioneering of participatory processes to empower beneficiaries, and foster group and community cohesion and self-reliance for development actions; (ii) involvement of LGAs in development planning and execution and the consequential support of improved local governance; and (iii) contribution to construction, cost-effective completion, timely achievement and organization for operation, maintenance and management of social infrastructure.

Furthermore, the approach and content of IFAD supported programmes have lent themselves to rapid and sound expansion and replication at both National, State and LGA level, as demonstrated by the broad support of the CDD model by both State and Federal government and other donors as best practice for local development.

However, while the demand-driven CDD approach was appreciated by the rural poor and their organizations, little attention was devoted to positioning this approach within the broader local governance framework with linkages to the private sector, such as rural banks that could have provided credit for enterprises and income–generating activities. The strengthening of the capacity of other key players at the local level such as local government and local elected bodies at the state and LGA level could have been pursued most strongly.

Country strategy issues

The CPE found the analysis of opportunities and constraints in the agriculture and rural sectors, as well as of rural poverty in the 2001 COSOP, to be limited. This may reflect inadequate capacity and skills on the part of the Fund to undertake thorough analytic work while preparing COSOPs. However, the COSOP provided a useful framework for cooperation with the country. Its attention to policy advocacy in agriculture and rural development, to promoting effective rural institutions and to productivity and natural resources management were, and remain, relevant and important in today's aid architecture in Nigeria.

The strategy did not, however, pay adequate attention to smallholder agriculture activities. The vast geographic coverage of IFAD's activities in Nigeria, with near national coverage of some operations, also raises concerns related, inter alia, to synergies within and across projects and programmes, as well as to the sustainability of benefits. With regard to the latter, for example, a wide geographic spread of activities would cause greater challenges to the Government in providing the technical assistance and follow–up, needed by the rural poor after project completion.

The CPE underlines three specific issues related to partnerships that call for reflection. Firstly, the recent development of operations outside the purely agricultural sector has created new challenges in terms of defining the respective institutional roles and responsibilities within federal agencies, for which a clear solution is yet to be found. Secondly, while the evaluation recognizes the importance of working with federal and state governments it has found that the various administrative layers introduce complexity in operations, for example, in terms of delays and denials of funds flows, arising from difficulties in securing counterpart funding, as well as implementation, coordination, monitoring and communication issues. Thirdly, there has been only limited cofinancing of IFAD interventions, so that opportunities for replication, scaling up and joint pro-poor policy dialogue have not been maximized.

Finally, the evaluation acknowledges that the sound move towards direct supervision and implementation support in recent operations should contribute to better development effectiveness on the ground. Similarly, the evaluation commends IFAD for strengthening its presence by establishing an office in such a large and important country as Nigeria. However, its view is that the current human resources arrangements, level of delegation of authority and resources deployed for the country presence are not of a calibre that would ensure that the country office can play an appropriate role in improving IFAD assistance.

Recommendations

The CPE includes three overarching recommendations that would contribute towards improving IFAD's development effectiveness in Nigeria. These are: (i) renewing the focus on agricultural development for rural poverty reduction; (ii) promoting pro-poor innovative solutions; and (iii) adapting IFAD's operating model to changing circumstances.

Renewing the focus on agricultural development for rural poverty reduction. The evaluation recommends that IFAD's future strategy and activities in Nigeria should pay critical attention to addressing the main challenges related to the low productivity of smallholder farmers. This would serve as the main vehicle for improving small farmers' competitiveness, including enhancing their incomes and promoting better livelihoods. Among other issues, this entails ensuring more systematic access to markets by adopting a value–chain approach, as well as linkages with the private sector, for example, for the provision of sustainable rural financial services and agro processing. Moreover, the heterogeneity of small farmers requires different approaches that cater to the needs of both subsistence and market-oriented individuals and groups.

In addition, the renewed focus should be accompanied by a more narrowly defined geographic concentration of IFAD operations in Nigeria. This would facilitate project implementation and coordination, as well as ensure wider synergies within and across projects. The levels of rural poverty and gender inequality could be amongst two of the main criteria for choosing the states and LGAs upon which to focus. The CPE also recommends that IFAD should reflect upon the pros and cons of working with the Federal Government on the one hand and with the state governments on the other hand. Opportunities for direct lending to State authorities could be explored, as this is likely to contribute to building more ownership and to facilitate the flow of funds and allocation of counterpart financing by the States themselves, which has in fact been a constraint in the past.

Finally, IFAD needs to ensure that the federal partner agencies selected have the required skills, experience and competencies to ensure effective implementation and support to IFAD-financed activities. In this regard, it is important to expeditiously develop a mutually satisfactory understanding on pending institutional issues, in terms of coordination, division of labour and implementation, especially as they relate to RUMEDP, which is not yet effective; and around future project activities that may demand different competences. In the absence of such an understanding, IFAD management may consider a cancellation of the corresponding loan in the near future, thereby allowing IFAD to devote its limited resources to other pressing country strategy, programme development and implementation issues.

Promoting pro-poor innovative solutions.  The total volume of ODA to Nigeria is small in relation to the government budget, and IFAD's financial contribution corresponds to a very small portion of total ODA. Therefore, the CPE recommends that IFAD should focus its future country strategy and programme on promoting pro-poor innovative solutions to rural poverty, which can be replicated and scaled up by the Government, donors, private sector and others. This requires a more systematic approach to finding and piloting innovations, and greater attention to policy dialogue, knowledge management and development of strategic partnerships, which are important factors in achieving the replication and scaling up of successful innovations.

Similarly, proactive efforts are required to link grants to loan-funded investment projects. Grants may be used for testing innovative solutions, which can then be applied more broadly through loan operations. Among other areas, innovations could be centred on the objective of improving smallholder farmer productivity, taking account of the challenges currently facing farmers, including those caused by rising commodity prices. This should also include due consideration being given to adaptive research oriented to the needs of small farmers. Likewise, innovative solutions that would assist farmers to limit the effects of climate change should be explored.

Strengthening local governance. It is recommended to devote more attention to positioning CDD within the broader local governance framework and strengthening local governance, including all actors at the local level such as States and LGAs, elected local bodies, the private sector, local NGOs, and other actors involved at the local level together with CBOs. In particular, at the State and LGA level, there is a need to reinforce grass roots and local government capabilities in development planning, delivery and improvement of service provision.

Empowerment and consolidation for progressive devolution of governance to the local level should be supported through policy dialogue and improved knowledge management4. The CDD paradigm needs to be adopted wherever relevant as the basis for development action.

The development of robust farmer associations as part of a stronger local governance framework that can lead to better empowerment of the poor would be another area of innovation for IFAD and the Government to pursue in the future. In this regard, IFAD's positive experience of promoting farmer associations in both Western and Central Africa and in other regions might prove valuable.

Adapting IFAD's operating model. Nigeria is a large country of importance to IFAD. Given the vast number of rural poor, the increasing financial allocations under the performance–based allocation system (PBAS) and the proposed re-emphasis on promotion of replicable innovations, it is recommended that IFAD should seek ways and means of strengthening its country presence. In this regard, the option of out-posting the country portfolio manager should be explored. Such a country presence might also have a sub regional dimension. A stronger country presence would allow IFAD to be more fully engaged in policy dialogue, further its commitment to meeting the provisions of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, improve its knowledge management, and ensure even better implementation support.

The introduction of the PBAS has important implications for the projects funded by IFAD in Nigeria. Increasing the total volume of resources allocated to the country under the PBAS calls for serious thought as to the number of projects to be developed and the corresponding volumes of loans. Given the current levels of IFAD human resources allocated to Nigeria, financing fewer projects with larger loan amounts would appear to be the most plausible option.


1/ Partly as a consequence of an earlier support of IFAD, working in conjunction with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the Federal and State Governments.

2/ From the Central Bank of Nigeria.

3/ As estimated by the Government Core Welfare Indicator Survey.

4/ As advocated by the recent thematic evaluation on IFAD's Performance and Impact in Decentralizing Environments, Office of Evaluation, July 2005.

 

LANGUAGES: English

The Sudan Country Programme Evaluation

Sudan  
diciembre 2008

Executive summary

Introduction

Evaluation objectives, methodology and process. The Office of Evaluation (OE) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) undertook the Country Programme Evaluation (CPE) in The Sudan with the following main objectives: (i) assess the performance and impact of IFAD country programme in The Sudan; and (ii) formulate a series of findings and recommendations to serve as building blocks for the preparation of the next Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) for The Sudan. This CPE includes ten IFAD operations that were still ongoing at the time of the evaluation or were designed after the 1994 Country Portfolio Evaluation.

In November 2007, a preparatory mission was conducted to discuss with The Sudan authorities the evaluation approach, methodology and process. The main mission was undertaken from 27 January to 25 February 2008, and worked with beneficiaries, the Government of The Sudan (GoS), civil society and development partners in Khartoum. Four projects were visited [North Kordofan Rural Development Project (NKRDP), South Kordofan Rural Development Programme (SKRDP), Western Sudan Resources Management Programme (WSRMP) and Gash Sustainable Livelihoods Regeneration Project (GSLRP)]. In compliance with the IFAD Evaluation Policy, a Core Learning Partnership (CLP) was established. A national roundtable workshop was organised in The Sudan on February 25-26 2009 to discuss the main learning issues emerging from the evaluation.

Economy and poverty context. Despite its rich endowment of natural resources, The Sudan remains a low-income and food deficit country. In 2005, The Sudan ranked 147 out of 177 countries on the Human Development Index. This was below Madagascar but higher than Kenya. Poverty was exacerbated by the harsh policy and institutional environment, the prolonged wars and its dramatic consequences on the livelihoods of the rural poor. Poverty is presumed to be higher in the rural areas due to low agricultural productivity and high unemployment. The Sudan is characterized by high inequality, including among regions, gender and socio-economic groups. The economic growth experienced by The Sudan in recent years has not significantly benefited the poor.

The development of the oil sector in the late 90s resulted in double digit GDP growth rates and significant expansion of the federal government revenue. However, the boom in the oil sector masks the importance of the agricultural sector: it is estimated that about 70 per cent of The Sudan's population derive their economic livelihood from agriculture. The appreciation of the Sudanese currency exchange rate due to increased international demand for oil products negatively affected agricultural exports due to their high cost at export. Nevertheless, agriculture still accounts for about 80 per cent of non-petroleum exports.

Development spending in the agricultural sector increased substantially in recent years. The irrigated sector received most of these investments, while the rainfed crop and livestock sectors, on which most of the rural poor depend for their livelihood, received the least. This imbalance is being addressed under the current strategy for agricultural development – the Green Mobilisation. In 2003, the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for 2004-2006 was presented which provided for higher assistance to rainfed areas and rural poverty. The Joint Assessment Mission of 2004 reaffirmed the importance of an equitable distribution of national wealth to restore peace in the country.

The country strategy in the Sudan

Approximately 30 per cent of the poor in the Near East and North Africa region live in The Sudan, making this country a priority for IFAD, both at the global and regional level. The presence of IFAD in The Sudan began in 1979 and has been uninterrupted despite the country's long running conflict. To date, IFAD has funded 15 projects for a total cost of US$558.62 million of which 38 per cent were IFAD loans.

The 2002 Sudan COSOP was prepared at a time when the country's prospects for re-engaging the international aid community appeared promising and when most donors focused on humanitarian rather than development aid. In this context, the IFAD COSOP can be considered one of the first strategic and innovative documents in The Sudan which explicitly recognised the linkage between development and peace. Furthermore, the COSOP recognised the multiple elements affecting human vulnerability including access to natural resources and financial assets, food security, gender equity, education, health care and peace. The key innovative element of the COSOP is that it is the first strategic document in The Sudan to expressly call for the linkage between development and peace as well as for greater support to the rainfed areas for effective poverty reduction.

The 2002 COSOP continued consolidating the orientations established in the 1994 Country Portfolio Evaluation. Three strategic thrusts were established: (i) support for the livelihood strategies of the target groups; (ii) empowering men and women to fully participate in the development process; and (iii) promoting good local governance. The overall goal of the COSOP was to: "improve living conditions of 3 million rural poor in rainfed agriculture areas, particularly in central-west and eastern regions". These strategic objectives were aligned to the IFAD regional strategy and Government general development priorities. They included a strong focus on gender, provided the basis for promoting women's access to decision making and for institutionalising community-based service delivery mechanisms. Livestock development was prioritised as the key strategy for supporting the livelihoods of the rural poor although the environmental consequences of livestock expansion were not examined. The COSOP identified geographic niches for IFAD intervention in central-west and eastern regions. These areas are among the poorest in The Sudan and are characterised by poor infrastructure and weak administrative institutions.

The COSOP complied with the IFAD requirements and standards of the time. It was however elaborated in a context of lack of information on key poverty data and a high level of uncertainty about the future of the country. The COSOP was unclear on how innovative solutions to rural poverty reduction were expected to be replicated or up-scaled. An overambitious and unfocussed set of policy dialogue issues were established: setting such an unfocused agenda for policy dialogue cannot be considered as a useful framework for strategic direction. It contrasts with the principle of selectivity that should guide IFAD operations aimed at maximizing rural poverty reduction impacts. The contribution of grants, partnership building activities and knowledge management to the delivery of the IFAD strategy was insufficiently analysed. It should however be noted that at the time in which The Sudan COSOP was designed, the corporate policies on grants, partnership and knowledge management were not yet approved.

As in the case of most pre-2006 COSOPs, The Sudan COSOP was open-ended with respect to the pipeline. The COSOP established that in order to comply with the IFAD's strategic niche and proposed thrusts in The Sudan, area-based rural development projects would represent the majority of projects in the IFAD portfolio. The evaluation expresses its reservation on the extent to which area-based integrated rural development projects constituted the most appropriate intervention modality in The Sudan. In particular, in a context characterised by limited institutional capacities and a volatile policy environment, a more focused approach could have been more appropriate. Although criteria for project selection were listed, these were not actually applicable in a context characterised by lack of poverty data. Some degree of open-endedness and flexibility was nevertheless required in order to respond to country volatility and uncertainty.

At the time of COSOP formulation, IFAD was the only funding development agency with a substantial presence in The Sudan, along with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Arab Fund. At the same time, the Sudanese government was benefiting from rising oil earnings. This constituted an exceptional situation of great opportunity for the Fund in The Sudan. Although the COSOP recognised the marked improvement in the growth rate of the economy starting in the early 90s and the prospects for increasing oil exports, it did not sufficiently analyse how IFAD-financed operations could benefit from The Sudan's improving economic perspective. In particular, the COSOP did not sufficiently capitalise on the Fund's privileged status in The Sudan and how this could be used through policy dialogue for promoting further investments in its ongoing projects in rainfed areas

Performance and results of IFAD-supported operations

Portfolio performance. IFAD-funded projects scored as moderately satisfactory with regards to relevance. The projects were relevant to the needs of The Sudan's poor and were aligned to the country's national policies and institutional context. However, conflict issues were not sufficiently addressed during design. Design flaws were also found in terms of under-financing of natural resources compared to the magnitude of the problem; dependence on unidentified co-financiers for priority activities; and overoptimistic expectation on implementation preparedness and management capacity of partner stakeholders.

The effectiveness of IFAD-funded projects in The Sudan has been moderately satisfactory. In the NKRDP, beneficiaries experienced improvement of their production capacity. These achievements were possible through initiatives of support for extension workers, demonstrations and technical training. Positive effects on women empowerment were achieved through nutrition, literacy classes and increased women participation in community groups. The establishment of Locality Extension Teams (LETs) was an important result of IFAD programmes. Effectiveness of projects was however negatively affected by implementation un-preparedness, weak institutional capacity, and lack of coordination among key stakeholders.

Efficiency has been moderately unsatisfactory. Overall, the overstretched and scattered nature of the interventions increased the amount of resources needed to generate results. The complex administrative structure, problems of coordination and complex management boards also affected efficiency.

The rural poverty impact of the IFAD country programme is rated moderately satisfactory. Important achievements were noted in terms of higher endowment of physical assets of rural poor households, agricultural productivity, and improved capacity of grassroots organisations in planning and management, and women empowerment. IFAD-funded programmes also contributed to orient policy and institutions in better servicing the rural poor, especially through support to land and water governance. In contrast, effects on market access were rated moderately unsatisfactory due to the fact that this domain was not treated in a systematic manner. The impact of the IFAD Country Programme on environment was also rated moderately unsatisfactory: despite the good results achieved with awareness raising campaigns and initiatives for rangeland and pasture protection, the evaluation noted the high exposure to environmental risks including land erosion and livestock overgrazing.

Sustainability was found to be a continuing problematic area for IFAD operations in The Sudan. This is due to the fragile and volatile environment, weak execution capacities and recurrent conflicts. The assumption that the revenue base of locality governments would increase sufficiently to take over responsibility for project activities proved unfounded. In this context, it is unlikely that State Governments will be able to consolidate most of the successes of the IFAD supported projects, particularly those related to sustaining rangeland rehabilitation and improvements. At the same time, the evaluation found a high degree of social ownership which constitutes an important supporting factor for sustainability. 

The performance of non-lending activities was moderately unsatisfactory. The Fund did not grasp the opportunities for policy dialogue to augment overall development effectiveness at a time when IFAD remained the only international financial institution in the country. Its sphere of influence at policy level was mostly limited within the scope of project activities. Policy dialogue was limited, partly because IFAD allocated few resources and efforts for the purpose and partly because of a lack of a more permanent country presence (until 2005). However, IFAD established good relations with ministries and institutions both in the federal and state governments. Its privileged status facilitated partnering with GoS officials both with national and state authorities and notably at project level. IFAD has no significant partnership with international financial institutions except for the IsDB in the NKRDP. Better coordination among the Kordofan programmes and other projects active in the region would have been beneficial in reducing duplication of efforts. The mechanisms in place for knowledge generation, management and dissemination were not adequate: although some knowledge sharing events have taken place among projects, there have been few systematic efforts to document IFAD's experiences on a periodic basis, or to mobilize relevant learning and experiences from other countries in the region or elsewhere. Impact studies have been undertaken in the SKRDP for assessing the effects of project operations.

The performance of partners. Through its operations, IFAD has supported the national decentralisation process by working with local communities to sustain the livelihoods of the rural poor and strengthening local governance. The Fund's privileged status facilitated partnering with GoS officials, both with National and State authorities and notably at the project level. Since 2005, IFAD has introduced a field country presence in The Sudan which has significantly contributed to its visibility, and is providing some benefits to non-lending activities. So far, the Fund has effectively undertaken direct supervision in one project (NKRDP).  Direct supervision will be extended to all other recent projects in The Sudan in 2009. While the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) performed well in the supervision of fiduciary and operational aspects, supervision missions gave more limited ttention to the follow-up and assessment of certain technical aspects of project implementation.  Government performance has generally been as satisfactory as could be expected within the limitations imposed by its capacity constraints.

The table below provides the average score of the evaluation ratings expressed on a 6 point scale where 6 corresponds to highly satisfactory whereas 1 to highly unsatisfactory. These scores are benchmarked against the 2002-2006 Annual Report on the Results and Impact of IFAD Operations (ARRI)1 ratings (for example, the 88 per cent under relevance means that 88 per cent of the projects evaluated by The Sudan CPE had a moderately satisfactory or better rating).

 

Summary of the IFAD-supported projects and programmes in the Sudan

Criteria

Rating

Score

Per cent of Satisfactory Projects

2002-2006 ARRI

Core Performance Criteria

 

 

 

 

Relevance

MS

4

88

96

Effectiveness

MS

4

50

72

Efficiency

MU

3

50

66

Aggregate Portfolio Performance

MS

4

50

84

 

 

 

 

 

Overall Impact

MS

4

33

65

 

 

 

 

 

Other Performance Criteria

 

 

 

 

Sustainability

MU

3

33

45

Innovation

MS

4

100

68

Overall Project Portfolio Achievement

MS

4

50

67

 

 

 

 

 

Partner Performance

 

 

 

 

IFAD

MS

4

66

51

Co-operating Institution

MS

4

50

64

Government

MS

4

33

67

MS = Moderately Satisfactory     MU = Moderately Unsatisfactory.

Though the portfolio performance ratings in Table 13 are lower when compared to the Annual Report on the Results and Impact of IFAD Operations (ARRI) ratings, the IFAD portfolio in support of the GoS efforts has nonetheless been moderately satisfactory overall2 . Similarly, the performance of partners has also been moderately satisfactory. The Sudan Country Programme brought hope to largely marginalized populations following a period of conflict in some areas, and much needed support to state governments and localities where few other donors existed.

Conclusions

Agriculture as a key sector of intervention

Though the Fund's Official Development Assistance (ODA) contribution in support of The Sudan's rural poverty reduction efforts may seem modest relative to total ODA, IFAD is still the largest donor in the agriculture sector, making the Fund a major partner in the current period of rising agricultural commodity prices. The Evaluation notes that the agricultural sector budget, which had declined to low levels in 2001, has since regained its former position of 2000 (45 per cent of total development expenditure). However, the irrigated sector received most of these investments, while the rainfed crop and livestock sectors, on which most of the rural poor depend for their livelihood, received the least. The CPE also indicates that components to strengthen rainfed agricultural services are explicitly present in only two out of the five ongoing IFAD projects, but subsumed under different components in all projects. Components to strengthen agricultural services in ongoing projects received 19 per cent of IFAD financing. This is less than institutional support (27 per cent) or community development (20 per cent) components, which are present in all five projects. Considering that smallholder agriculture in The Sudan generates economic growth that builds peace and reduces poverty, a key lesson of this CPE is that IFAD strategy and activities in The Sudan could further address the root causes of smallholder low productivity by focussing more on agriculture.

Promoting pro-poor agricultural innovations

The Evaluation found that though the programme had performed moderately satisfactorily with regards to rural finance or institutional innovations [e.g. development of Community Development Committees (CDCs) in project areas], little technical innovation has been developed by research, under the impulse of IFAD and GoS, to be adopted as technical packages by the projects. More support to research is needed.  For example, the evaluation found that farmers are already beginning to experiment themselves with more intensified use of manure and could be assisted with technical advice for on-farm trials, with pastoralists assisted with corral systems for manure collection. Where innovative models for development are adopted within IFAD projects from previous Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) experience in the field (as with stock route demarcation in WSRMP from Save Our Souls Sahel, and village CDCs that have a similar structure and purpose to Village Development Committees (VDCs), that first emerged from CARE's 30 year experience in the area), greater emphasis and resources are required to support further adaptation and evolution of the innovation.

Scaling up policy dialogue

The COSOP did not capture the privileged status of IFAD at the time of its preparation in 2002, when IFAD remained among the few funding development agencies in The Sudan. There was a missed opportunity for IFAD to systematically follow-up on policy issues at the national level. The Fund's sphere of influence remained mostly constrained within the project scope. Lack of real country presence and little engagement on higher national level policy issues reinforced the narrow role of policy dialogue initiatives undertaken by the Fund during implementation of the Country Programme.

Most results at policy level have taken place within the project context. This comprises measures to improve access to land and water resources, the development of community organisations, or the promotion of gender equity. This is considered a positive characteristic of IFAD in The Sudan and should be used for building forthcoming institutional and policy change objectives in the Results-Based COSOP. They also attest to IFAD's ability to influence policy, an aptitude which could well be exercised beyond the project context.

Tackling sustainability

The Evaluation confirmed that project sustainability, which has been identified as a key weakness since the Portfolio Evaluation of 1994, requires broader efforts beyond the simple scope of project activities. The COSOP did not provide a comprehensive strategy for ensuring sustainability of IFAD-financed activities. Some IFAD-financed operations, such as increased livestock development, have translated into additional concerns. These tend to introduce substantial changes over a short time period in fragile environments with a weak carrying capacity, often resulting in adverse environmental effects.

Despite laudable efforts, there has been a gap between the IFAD intent in the 2002 COSOP seeking to promote conflict resolution as well as peace-building and outcomes on the ground. In addition, the fragile and volatile environment, weak implementation capacities and recurrent conflicts increase the exposure of existing project benefits to risks that may hinder the continuation of benefits after completion of IFAD support.

Recommendations

Agriculture as a key sector of intervention

The Evaluation recommends that IFAD further address the root causes of smallholder low productivity by focussing more on agriculture in the next COSOP. Localities where basic services and infrastructure that have proved to support labour productivity and market access are available could be favoured.  In today's environment of rising prices, the issues of value-chain marketing and market access require more consideration than these issues received in the past. IFAD could also build on current efforts such as the decentralised agricultural extension services which have been beneficial to smallholders. Land tenure, irrigated cultivation, overgrazing and livestock should continue to be addressed.  However, consideration should be given to pursuing these in a more focused and systematic manner to ensure greater integration and synergies in these areas.

Promoting pro-poor agricultural innovations

The Evaluation recommends that IFAD redouble efforts in promoting pro-poor agricultural innovations.  These have been weaker than innovations in the other programme components. The Fund's focus on agricultural innovation should be realised within projects through allocation of greater resources for suitable staffing, links to relevant research organisations and to undertake adaptive research components. A more systematic approach to replication and scaling up of agricultural innovations should also be developed. In particular, technical innovations need to be developed by research, under the impulse of IFAD and GoS, and be adopted as technical packages by the projects. Greater practical support to innovation in the agricultural sector should be given both at research level and in support to farmer's own experimentation and innovation.

Scaling up policy dialogue

Building on project-level policy dialogue initiatives that are currently being pursued, the division should scale up agricultural policy dialogue to the national level. This could be done by presenting a limited set of strategic themes for dialogue in the forthcoming Sudan COSOP, which could include, inter alia, such themes as:  Agricultural Pro-poor Innovation, Partnership and Sustainability. Policy dialogue on these strategic themes could then be enhanced and sustained through the life of the next COSOP through the regular follow-up and analysis mandated in the RB-COSOP framework, including annual workshops and the mid-term review exercise. Regularly revisiting dialogue on policy issues also presents the potential to establish a more transparent partnership and consultation mechanism, making it possible to better engage with national and local level authorities, civil society and the wider donor community. The end result would be a more holistic country programme and, ultimately, more sustainable development impact.

Tackling sustainability

The Evaluation recommends that the next COSOP ensure sustainability is incorporated in the broad framework of the strategic elements of the Country Programme in terms of design (e.g. clarity of exit strategies), and partnership (e.g. stakeholder ownership) at the outset of the new country programme. Also, recognizing the contextual realities of The Sudan, where conflict over natural resource is an integral part of the daily reality of farming and pastoral communities, IFAD should include the capacity building of the field staff in conflict prevention and disaster management as an integral component of its programmatic interventions in The Sudan in order to enhance sustainability.


1/ The ARRI aims to provide a consolidated picture of the results, impact and performance of IFAD projects each year:

2/ Overall portfolio achievement reflects the combined assessment of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, rural poverty impact, sustainability and innovation. 

 

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