Kingdom of Cambodia Country strategy and programme evaluation
The evaluation reviewed the evolution of the country strategy and programme since the Fund started operations in 1996, but with a focus on the last decade. When IFAD started operations, the country was in a phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation following almost two decades of wars and destruction.
The evaluation finds that IFAD-funded projects have contributed to improved agricultural productivity of poor rural households. The portfolio also made contributions to the Government’s "decentralization and deconcentration" processes, as well as improvements in gender equality and rural women's empowerment.
In spite of these achievements, the portfolio remained static up until around 2010 amid the fast-evolving rural context. The projects largely replicated older project designs and approaches – group formation, agricultural training and extension services combined with group revolving-fund support – with limited critical reflection on experience and on innovations. In general, the portfolio did not fully appreciate the implications on rural households of increasing non-agricultural income opportunities and labour shortages.
The evaluation recommended, among other actions, tailored support to relatively advanced smallholder farmers as well as poorer households, fostering further partnerships with farmer and indigenous peoples’ organizations and stronger collaboration between IFAD and the Government to mobilize other partners to invest in smallholder agriculture.
Republic of Cameroon Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This is the first country programme evaluation of Cameroon conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) and it covers the partnership between the Government and IFAD from 2007 to 2017. During this time, IFAD provided funding for six rural development projects to the tune of US$84.2 million for a total cost of US$159.9 million.
The evaluation concluded that the IFAD country programme applied rural development approaches, including local development, farmer organization support, rural finance, value chain support and youth enterprise development, that were well-aligned with evolving IFAD and Government policies and strategies. IFAD-funded projects contributed to the increase of productivity for cultures like cassava, rice and onions, which are important for the local populations. Moreover, the programme reinforced the capacity of producer organisations to provide services upstream and downstream of agricultural production to their smallholder members. However, the report also indicates that the poorest and most vulnerable rural households were not often reached, although these households were specifically targeted by the country strategies and project designs. Other areas for improvement cited in the report include more attention to gender equality, and the sustainability and scaling-up of successful interventions.
Mozambique Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
During the period under evaluation, IFAD provided six loans to Mozambique, for a total value of US$ 239 million. The evaluation found a positive impact which included significant capacity development at the institutional, community and individual levels, improvements in access to micro-credit for household assets and petty-trade through savings and credit associations, and empowerment of women thanks to literacy initiatives.
Notwithstanding these achievements, projects' focus on small farmers with marketable surplus meant that less attention was paid to potentially food insecure farmers. This is a major challenge for the Government and IFAD to consider in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 in particular. Additionally, targeting strategies should consider more vulnerable groups, including women, youth, and people living with HIV. Against the backdrop of the SDGs, the challenge is no longer to reduce poverty but to eradicate it by 2030.
Arab Republic of Egypt Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This evaluation covers the IFAD-supported country programme and strategy in Egypt for the period 2005 to 2016. Egypt is the largest borrower among the 22 countries in the Near East and North Africa region in which IFAD operates (15.8 per cent).
The country programme has achieved some notable impacts, especially in improving farming systems in the old lands, and improving water and land management practices in the new lands, which are certainly key to enabling poor rural farmers to increase their production and their productivity. The focus on similar rural development issues has held steady over a long period, but opportunities to learn from this long-term engagement have been missed.
During this period, the Government became more demanding in what it expects from increasingly expensive loans. Moreover, the scale of the challenges it needs to address will require more diverse and innovative solutions. For IFAD, this means that replicating well-tested approaches will not be sufficient. The Fund will need to sharpen its strategic focus, push for greater innovation, join forces with a wider range of partnerships, and ensure broad-based government ownership throughout its interventions.
Nicaragua Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
The IFAD-supported country programme has made significant contributions to rural development in Nicaragua. To address the rapidly changing institutional framework, IFAD has introduced flexibility into its programme and continues to provide support for the country’s decisions and development plans.
The programme has contributed to the development of national strategies on access to markets, assets and value chains; strengthening of rural organizations; promotion of non-agricultural rural activities; and adaptation to climate change. One clearly positive aspect of the programme has been its focus on family farming. In this regard, the programme has established an area of thematic specialization that has created a distinct comparative advantage for IFAD-supported activities in the country.
There are opportunities to boost the contribution of non-lending activities under the programme. In particular, significant progress has been observed on policy dialogue in rural development, but has not translated into concrete contributions to policies and strategies. The strides made in knowledge management are still limited, due in great part to the lack of easy access to technical information or to the knowledge base accumulated by IFAD and other cooperation agencies. And partnerships with nongovernmental actors, including the private sector, are limited.
The full document is only available in Spanish
Philippines Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This country strategy and programme evaluation covers the IFAD-Government partnership under the two country strategies of 1999 and 2009. IFAD's portfolio in the Philippines has been a mix of area-based projects with multi-sectoral components based on a participatory approach, and those with a sectoral focus (such as microenterprise development, irrigation and natural resources management) and with wider geographical coverage. The main target group has included upland farmers, indigenous peoples, agrarian reform beneficiaries and fishers.
The evaluation finds that IFAD and the Government have a fostered close and effective partnership in their efforts to address rural poverty issues, and project and programmes have made notable achievements – for example, in gender equality and women’s empowerment, and in increased crop yields through irrigated agriculture. The prospect of sustainability of benefits is generally favourable, and beyond the lending portfolio good practices have been noted in knowledge management and effective partnerships, in particular with diverse government agencies and civil society organizations.
On the other hand, more can be done to improve performance and upgrade non-lending activities and there is room to improve the evidence from monitoring and evaluation across the portfolio so that good practices can be scaled up.
Democratic Republic of the Congo Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation
This Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation for the Democratic Republic of the Congo covers the period 2003 to 2015 and five projects for which IFAD has committed about US$156 million.Since the first loan in 1980, IFAD has financed eight projects, targeting over half a million households. The estimated total project cost is US$339 million, of which two thirds were financed by IFAD.
The country programme’s short-term impact on agricultural productivity and food security, household incomes and human and social capital is quite significant as a result of the strategic choice to focus on quick-impact actions in a highly precarious baseline situation. The programme had very good quantitative results in terms of organizing producers, using farmer organizations as the main point of entry for supporting the revival of agriculture. By investing heavily in better access roads, improved seed distribution and agricultural extension, the programme contributed to raising productivity and incomes, and to improving food security in the project areas.
The country strategic opportunities programmes and project portfolio are broadly relevant to national and IFAD corporate strategies and the needs of the rural poor, however, the evaluation found that the country context of fragility and accompanying risks are not sufficiently taken into account in the analysis of the operating context, strategies, approaches and partnerships. There is a mismatch between the country programme’s ambitious objectives and complex arrangements, short project duration and limited external support on the one hand, and the major contextual challenges and limited management and planning capacities of the project teams, on the other.
The evaluation puts forward various critical recommendations for the future partnership between IFAD and the DRC, such as adjusting the institutional set-up of the country programme; strengthening its strategic relevance and targeting approach; and improving relevance and effectiveness of non-lending activities (e.g. policy dialogue, knowledge management and partnership-building).
India Country Programme Evaluation
Since 1979, IFAD has invested more than US$928 million in 27 programmes and projects in India, with a total cost of $2.6 billion when cofinancing is included, directly benefitting 4.4 million households.
The evaluation confirmed that IFAD-supported projects have achieved significant results in building grass-roots institutions, empowering women and improving the lives of tribal communities in India. More specifically, projects have contributed to mobilizing communities and developing basic community infrastructure, as well as developing agricultural production and improving rural livelihoods, the use of national resources, and access to credit and financial services.
Overall, portfolio performance has been solid. However, delays in project entry into force and slow implementation have been a common problem. This is explained by the challenging physical and socio-economic conditions of the project areas, as well as limitations in implementation capacity at the state level.
Portfolio impact has been satisfactory in terms of household assets and income, human and social capital, while moderately satisfactory in other domains (i.e. impact on natural resources and climate change, and institutions and policies).
In a large, middle-income country like India, good project performance continues to be important, but demand is emerging for knowledge sharing and analysis to inform public policies and programmes. There is scope for IFAD to invest more in systematizing and analyzing its project experiences so that they can be fed not only into better project design and implementation but also into the formulation of public policies and programmes.
The Gambia Country Programme Evaluation
The evaluation finds that the partnership between IFAD and the Government of The Gambia has been highly valued, reflecting mutual trust and cordial relations. The project objectives and designs are relevant, in general responding to the needs and priorities of the target groups and the Government.
However, the extent to which the objectives were achieved was rather limited, due to a number of factors, including high and unpredictable staff turnover and weak partnerships with other stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations and development agencies. There was also a lack of clear targeting strategy in order to effectively reach and support the intended beneficiaries. Sustainability of benefits was found to be challenging in all interventions, even though the focus on this aspect increased over the years. The projects and programmes have had a positive impact on women's economic empowerment in general, but there could have been more attention to the issue of drudgery.
This is the first country programme evaluation of The Gambia conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD and it covers the partnership between the Government and IFAD during the period 2004-2014. Over the last 30 years, IFAD has supported ten projects and programmes in The Gambia for a total cost of US$196 million, of which IFAD contributed US$73.1 million.
Nigeria Country Programme Evaluation
Over the last 30 years, IFAD has supported ten projects in Nigeria for a total cost of US$795.3 million, of which IFAD has provided US$317.9 million. This is the second country programme evaluation and it covers the partnership between IFAD and the Government from 2009 to 2015. The CPE found a clear trajectory of an evolving country programme that reflects deliberate efforts to adapt to changing priorities, realities and needs. The 2010-15 COSOP has built on the strengths of IFAD in Nigeria, while refocusing the programme on agriculture, in line with Government's policy priorities. The programme has targeted poverty well in the projects and programmes in the North and Middle Belt. The most significant achievement according to the evaluation was the creation of community-based organizations through which local governments were able to channel funding into otherwise hard-to-reach places. These committees continue to play an active role in planning community infrastructure and managing community assets in a sustainable way. In the Niger Delta in the South, population densities are high and market access is better, hence IFAD focussed on rural employment creation for the large youth population and the women remaining in rural areas, as well as on the promotion of on- and off-farm enterprises. Overall, there were results in increased incomes, social capital, food security and productivity, but the achievements were hampered by slow release of funding and implementation delays, particularly in the early years of programme life. Political uncertainties caused by changing governments and the institutional complexities within the federal system were major factors that affected the performance of the programme. The difficulty of the context calls for deeper analysis of governance and other crosscutting issues, including youth, gender, natural resource management, pastoralism, and conflict and fragility, to be built into IFAD's strategy for future engagement.