Rwanda Country Programme Evaluation

Rwanda  
mars 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  
juillet 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  
juillet 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  
juillet 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 (2011)

Niger  
mai 2010

Résumé exécutif

Objectifs et grands axes de l'évaluation. En 2009, le Bureau indépendant de l'évaluation du Fonds international de développement agricole (FIDA) a été chargé d'entreprendre une première évaluation du programme de pays (EPP) du FIDA au Niger. Cette évaluation, conduite dans l'esprit de la Politique du FIDA en matière d'évaluation et du manuel méthodologique élaboré par le Bureau, a pour objectifs principaux d'évaluer la performance et l'impact des opérations du FIDA au Niger et de générer une série de conclusions et de recommandations de nature à alimenter la formulation du futur programme stratégique du FIDA pour le Niger. Afin d'atteindre ces objectifs, l'évaluation apprécie la performance des trois composantes du partenariat entre le Gouvernement nigérien et le FIDA, qui se renforcent mutuellement, à savoir : le portefeuille de projets et de programmes, les activités hors prêts et les deux Programmes d'options stratégiques pour le pays (COSOP) concernant le Niger. L'évaluation du portefeuille, qui comprend sept projets et programmes, couvre la période allant de 1997 à 2009.

Contexte national. Le Niger est un pays sahélien enclavé dont les deux tiers de la superficie sont désertiques. En 2007, 62% de la population vivaient encore en dessous du seuil de pauvreté, dont les deux tiers en milieu rural. Les autres indicateurs socioéconomiques du Niger sont aussi très faibles. Les femmes et les jeunes sont particulièrement touchés par la pauvreté. Environ 82% de la population est rurale, cette population se concentrant  dans la frange sud du pays. La croissance démographique du Niger, l'une des plus élevées au monde, constitue un défi considérable pour le développement du pays. Le paysage sociopolitique du pays a régulièrement été marqué par des troubles sociaux, conflits armés internes et crises politico-institutionnelles. Le cadre macroéconomique du Niger s'est toutefois amélioré ces dix dernières années, notamment grâce à des réformes structurelles et une réduction significative de la dette extérieure. La gouvernance au Niger reste pourtant affectée par une forte dépendance à l'égard de l'aide extérieure, l'instabilité des institutions et de leurs cadres, l'insuffisance des moyens dont disposent les services techniques déconcentrés et les communes, et l'importance de la corruption au sein de l'administration. Ces problèmes de gouvernance freinent la mise en œuvre des stratégies visant à réduire la pauvreté. L'aide extérieure en faveur de l'agriculture et du développement rural au Niger a connu une croissance notable de 1998 à 2007 (553,4 millions d'USD sur dix ans), mais les effets de cette aide pâtissent de la faible capacité d'absorption du pays. Le niveau d'investissement dans les infrastructures socioéconomiques reste très faible. Le secteur privé et les organisations de la société civile sont peu développés et vivent également dans une large mesure de l'aide au développement.

La domination de l'agriculture et de l'élevage et la faible diversification intra-sectorielle rendent l'économie du Niger très vulnérable aux aléas climatiques et aux marchés. Le secteur informel compte pour 70% du produit intérieur brut, ce qui explique en partie l'étroitesse de l'assiette fiscale du pays. L'agriculture de subsistance traditionnelle est en crise sous l'effet combiné de la pression démographique et de la forte dégradation des ressources naturelles. Par conséquence, les ménages ruraux doivent recourir aux marchés pour s'approvisionner en vivres produits localement ou importés. Ils sont donc obligés de diversifier leurs sources de revenu. Le Niger dispose d'un important potentiel en eau dont moins d'un tiers est actuellement exploité. L'accès limité à la terre des ménages agricoles vulnérables, les femmes en particulier, est un obstacle important à l'amélioration de leurs revenus et de leur sécurité alimentaire.

Le FIDA au Niger. Le FIDA a élaboré deux COSOP pour le Niger (en 1999 et 2006). Les objectifs stratégiques du COSOP de 1999 concernaient l'amélioration de l'accès des pauvres aux services financiers, la gestion des ressources naturelles, l'utilisation des débouchés offerts par le marché régional, l'adoption d'une approche participative pour le développement des organisations de base, et l'amélioration de l'accès aux services sociaux de base. Le COSOP de 2006 renonce à l'objectif lié aux services financiers ruraux, mais rajoute, dans le contexte de la crise alimentaire de 2004 - 2005, un objectif stratégique de réduction de la vulnérabilité et de renforcement de la sécurité alimentaire des ménages ruraux. Pour le COSOP de 2006, le FIDA et le gouvernement ont convenu de concentrer les interventions financées par le FIDA sur la région de Maradi, où vivent 20% de la population du pays et qui a été la région la plus touchée par la crise alimentaire de 2004-2005. Sur le plan sous-sectoriel, les deux COSOP sont principalement axés sur le développement agricole et la gestion des ressources naturelles, le renforcement des capacités locales et le développement institutionnel, l'appui aux services financiers ruraux et la création de fonds d'investissement locaux, et l'appui aux infrastructures et services ruraux. Les groupes cibles des interventions du FIDA sont les petits producteurs (agriculteurs et pasteurs), les femmes les plus vulnérables et les jeunes ruraux sans emploi.

Depuis 1980, le FIDA a contribué au financement de huit projets et programmes au Niger, pour un coût total de 234,6 millions d'USD couvert à hauteur de 45% par les prêts du FIDA. Ainsi, ces dix dernières années, le FIDA a fourni environ 8,5% du montant total de l'aide aux secteurs rural et agricole du Niger. Le budget alloué au Niger en application du Système d'allocation fondé sur la performance (SAFP) mis en place par le FIDA est passé de 4 millions d'USD à 6,2 millions d'USD par an entre 2005 et 2009. L'allocation fixée pour le cycle du SAFP 2007-2009 était de 16,65 millions d'USD et ce montant sera doublé pour le cycle 2010-2012.

Dans l'ensemble, les projets visent à améliorer les revenus et les conditions de vie des populations rurales pauvres. Les objectifs spécifiques du portefeuille évalué concernent principalement la gestion des ressources naturelles, le développement des institutions de base et le renforcement des capacités, l'amélioration de l'accès aux services financiers ruraux, les progrès de la productivité de l'agriculture et de l'élevage, et l'amélioration de l'accès aux services sociaux de base en zone rurale. Les dons d'assistance technique appuient des domaines divers tels que la recherche-développement, l'innovation et la diffusion de technologies agricoles améliorées, les infrastructures, la gestion des ressources naturelles et le développement agricole. Le montant total des dons généralement couplés à un projet financé par le FIDA, s'élève à environ 1,62 million d'USD.

Les interventions du FIDA au Niger sont exécutées par les institutions gouvernementales. Toutefois, en application du principe d'externalisation, la mise en œuvre d'une grande partie des activités est déléguée à des ONG, des bureaux d'études et des services techniques déconcentrés, en vue de favoriser le développement de l'offre de services locaux. Des partenariats avec d'autres partenaires techniques et financiers sont prévus pour le financement et la mise en œuvre des projets, en partie dans le cadre des mécanismes de coordination entre le Gouvernement et les donateurs déjà en place. Les projets financés par le FIDA au Niger ont été cofinancés principalement par la Banque mondiale, l'Agence française de développement, le Programme alimentaire mondial, la Banque ouest-africaine de développement, le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement et le Fonds belge de sécurité alimentaire.

Appréciation du portefeuille. Dans l'ensemble, les objectifs des projets concordent avec les politiques et stratégies du Gouvernement et du FIDA. Le portefeuille répond assez bien aux besoins des populations rurales pauvres, et il a fait preuve d'une souplesse satisfaisante lorsqu'il s'est agi de faire face aux urgences et à l'évolution de la situation. Alors que les objectifs et l'envergure des premiers projets dépassaient la capacité de gestion des équipes de projet, on constate ces derniers temps une évolution vers une plus forte implication des institutions locales et une plus forte concentration géographique des interventions. En revanche, l'attention portée à l'agriculture irriguée, à l'élevage, aux activités extra-agricoles et à l'accès des populations rurales pauvres aux marchés a été trop faible, alors que les perspectives sont importantes dans ces domaines. Le partenariat avec les services techniques déconcentrés et les communes (dont la création ne date que de 2004) n'a pas été suffisamment développé, mais il sera au cœur du prochain projet cofinancé par le FIDA (Initiative de réhabilitation et de développement agricole et rural – Renforcement des capacités institutionnelles). Ainsi, la pertinence du portefeuille est jugée modérément satisfaisante.

Pour ce qui est de l'efficacité du portefeuille, des résultats probants ont été obtenus dans le domaine de la remise en valeur des terres au niveau des exploitations agricoles et, dans une moindre mesure, au niveau de la gestion de l'eau pour l'irrigation à petite échelle. Sur le plan local, ces résultats ont contribué à l'essor de la productivité de l'agriculture et de l'élevage. On constate aussi une amélioration modeste de l'accès des populations aux services financiers ruraux, mais celle-ci n'a généralement pas perduré une fois le projet achevé. La construction et la remise en état de pistes rurales ont dépassé les prévisions. Globalement, pourtant, les résultats n'ont pas été à la hauteur des prévisions et des besoins. Les projets n'ont pas contribué de manière significative à la mise en place d'une gestion effective des ressources naturelles communautaires, ni au développement de services financiers accessibles aux populations rurales pauvres. Par ailleurs, la mise en place d'infrastructures hydrauliques, éducatives et sanitaires est très inférieure aux prévisions. C'est la raison pour laquelle l'efficacité du portefeuille est jugée modérément insatisfaisante.

Les processus de démarrage et de gestion, auparavant relativement lents, semblent s'être améliorés considérablement depuis quelques années. Le rapport entre le taux de réalisation matérielle et le taux des dépenses de fonctionnement des projets est systématiquement très bas, ce qui s'explique, entre autres, par la faible capacité des Unités de gestion de projet (UGP), les fréquentes ruptures de financement et la prolongation d'au moins une année de tous les projets menés à terme au Niger. Le coût des réalisations matérielles des projets est généralement inférieur au coût standard au Niger, notamment grâce à une bonne implication des communautés et des services de l'État dans les travaux et à des conditions topographiques et climatiques favorables. La rentabilité des investissements est cependant assez variable, en fonction des possibilités et des difficultés de valorisation. Les volets des projets relatifs au financement rural ont généralement donné lieu à des pertes de fonds importantes, au détriment de l'efficience du portefeuille. En conséquence, celle-ci est jugée modérément insatisfaisante.

L'appréciation de l'impact sur la pauvreté rurale montre que les projets ont contribué de façon assez significative, mais limitée dans l'espace, à améliorer les revenus et la sécurité alimentaire des ménages ruraux, grâce aux interventions menées dans les domaines de la production agricole, de la Gestion des ressources naturelles (GRN) et du développement des activités extra-agricoles. Cependant, dans de nombreux cas, cette amélioration reste fragile face aux chocs extérieurs. Le portefeuille a également eu un impact modeste sur le capital humain, notamment en matière d'éducation et de santé, sur le capital social et l'autonomisation, en particulier pour les femmes, et sur les institutions et politiques rurales. Aussi l'impact du portefeuille sur la pauvreté rurale est-il jugé modérément satisfaisant.

Pour assurer la durabilité des acquis, les projets prévoyaient des stratégies de désengagement reposant essentiellement sur la participation des organisations de base et le renforcement de leurs capacités, deux aspects qui présentent en eux-mêmes une durabilité très variable. La durabilité des acquis en matière de GRN et de production agricole est assez bonne, grâce à la simplicité des aménagements et à la forte implication des populations, mais l'insécurité foncière, la faible maîtrise de l'eau et la dégradation des terres sont autant de menaces qui pèsent sur leur durabilité. La durabilité des infrastructures socioéconomiques varie en fonction de la qualité de leur construction et de la compétence des services de l'État qui les prennent en charge. Les services de formation et de conseil apportés aux populations bénéficiaires dans le cadre des projets sont condamnés à disparaître à la clôture des projets. En effet, peu d'efforts sont consacrés au renforcement des capacités des services techniques déconcentrés et la valorisation des services locaux dont les projets ont encouragé le développement est insuffisante lorsque les apports de fonds extérieurs s'achèvent. En conséquence, la durabilité des acquis des projets du portefeuille du FIDA est jugée modérément insatisfaisante.

Le portefeuille du FIDA au Niger a favorisé de nombreuses innovations agroécologiques, sociales, institutionnelles et méthodologiques, grâce à la relation tripartite entre les projets, les institutions de recherche et les groupes de bénéficiaires. La diffusion des innovations d'ordre agroécologique est pratiquement spontanée, du moment qu'il s'agit de technologies simples et utiles. Pour les innovations institutionnelles et méthodologiques en revanche, la diffusion se heurte souvent au manque de moyens ou à des obstacles institutionnels. Compte tenu de ce qui précède, la performance du portefeuille en matière d'innovation est jugée satisfaisante.

Performance des partenaires. Le Gouvernement nigérien a mis en place, assez récemment, un cadre de développement économique et social cohérent facilitant l'insertion des projets, l'évolution favorable de la gouvernance et l'amélioration de la situation macroéconomique du pays. Pourtant, la faiblesse structurelle de l'administration et des services techniques déconcentrés, l'instabilité politique et le manque de réalisme dans la conception des projets en ce qui concerne la capacité d'absorption des institutions gouvernementales sont autant de facteurs qui ont limité la performance du Gouvernement, ce qui a entraîné des répercussions très négatives sur la performance du portefeuille. Malgré de nombreux obstacles, le FIDA a constamment maintenu au Niger un portefeuille de prêts cohérent concordant avec les priorités nationales et les besoins des ruraux pauvres. Le FIDA a fait des efforts notables en matière de partenariats, notamment à travers la participation à la programmation conjointe et la promotion de la concertation entre les Partenaires techniques et financiers (PTF) dans la région de Maradi. Cependant, la gestion du portefeuille a pâti d'une supervision indirecte trop légère et de difficultés de communication. Les évaluateurs s'interrogent par ailleurs sur le bien-fondé de la récente décision de mettre un terme à deux projets avant la date prévue. Le Bureau des Nations Unies pour les services d'appui aux projets (UNOPS), principale institution coopérante du FIDA au Niger, s'est acquitté correctement de l'administration des prêts, bien que la lenteur avec laquelle il a traité les demandes d'approbation et de décaissements ait entraîné des retards dans l'approvisionnement des projets. L'UNOPS a effectué des missions de supervision à intervalles réguliers, mais les recommandations formulées à cette occasion ont surtout trait aux aspects généraux de la gestion des projets et peu à leurs orientations stratégiques et à leurs résultats. Cette lacune s'explique peut-être par la composition peu adaptée des équipes de supervision et la fréquence et la durée insuffisantes des missions. En application du principe d'externalisation, les projets sous-traitent de nombreuses activités à des ONG, entreprises privées et organisations de base. La performance des ONG a été assez faible en raison de capacités insuffisantes, ce qui s'est souvent traduit par une surcharge de travail pour les équipes de projet. La région de Maradi dispose d'un tissu d'entrepreneurs compétents grâce aux nombreuses interventions qui s'y sont déjà déroulées. Ailleurs, la performance des entreprises privées a été faible, en raison de trois facteurs : des capacités insuffisantes en matière de techniques et de gestion, le sous-équipement, et les carences du contrôle opéré par les services de l'État. Les organisations de base ont apporté une contribution importante à la réalisation d'actions de développement initiées dans le cadre des projets du FIDA. Toutefois, ces organisations présentent de nombreuses insuffisances : analphabétisme, méconnaissance des procédures, manque de transparence, faibles capacités financières et techniques, etc.

Activités hors prêts. Le programme du FIDA a eu le mérite de mobiliser plusieurs dons d'assistance technique (pour plus de 1,6 million d'USD) et de les intégrer à certains projets, assurant ainsi une bonne synergie entre les dons et les prêts. Ces dons, relatifs à des domaines divers, ont eu un impact positif sur la mise en œuvre des projets du FIDA. Toutefois, les acquis des dons n'ont pas toujours bénéficié d'une stratégie de capitalisation et de diffusion. La participation du FIDA à la concertation sur les politiques s'est faite essentiellement à travers les projets cofinancés et certains dons d'assistance technique. Des questions pertinentes ont été abordées, telles que la Stratégie nationale de microfinance, la régionalisation de la Stratégie de développement rural (SDR) et la Stratégie nationale de gestion des banques céréalières. Sur le plan des partenariats, la performance du FIDA est satisfaisante, notamment à travers l'engagement dans la programmation conjointe au titre du Plan-cadre des Nations Unies pour l'aide au développement (PNUAD), le rôle de premier plan joué dans l'adoption de la Lettre d'entente de Maradi, le cofinancement de projets avec d'autres PTF, et le Cadre de concertation entre le Gouvernement et les partenaires à Maradi (bien que ce cadre n'ait jamais véritablement fonctionné, notamment en raison des difficultés rencontrées par le projet IRDAR). La gestion des connaissances était très faible dans les premiers projets du FIDA évalués dans le cadre de l'EPP, mais avec le Projet de promotion de l'initiative locale pour le développement à Aguié (PPILDA), le programme du FIDA a porté une attention croissante à cet aspect à partir de 2006 - 2007. La performance des activités hors prêts dans leur ensemble est donc jugée modérément satisfaisante.

Performance des COSOP. Les deux stratégies de pays (1999 et 2006) ont été élaborées avant les nouvelles directives du FIDA concernant les programmes d'options stratégiques pour les pays axés sur les résultats. Elles ne prévoient pas un programme cohérent et méthodique de prêts et d'activités hors prêts, ni un système de pilotage ou de suivi-évaluation. Les deux COSOP présentent toutefois une analyse judicieuse des causes structurelles de la pauvreté dans le pays et leurs objectifs stratégiques concordent avec les politiques et stratégies nationales de développement en vigueur et avec le mandat du FIDA. Le COSOP de 1999 répondait bien aux besoins des populations rurales  pauvres puisqu'il visait la réalisation du potentiel productif naturel, la diversification des activités économiques en vue de leur intégration aux marchés, le renforcement de leurs moyens d'action par le biais des organisations de base, et l'amélioration de l'accès aux services sociaux, en particulier pour les femmes. En revanche, la nécessité de développer les services financiers ruraux en faveur des populations rurales pauvres n'était pas véritablement fondée sur une analyse des besoins de ces populations, et le COSOP n'a pas considéré les risques inhérents à la très vaste étendue géographique et à la très grande diversité thématique des interventions. Le COSOP en vigueur, qui date de 2006, porte très fortement l'empreinte de la crise alimentaire de 2004 - 2005, puisqu'il combine une approche de redressement après-crise à court terme et une approche de développement à long terme. Il propose judicieusement de concentrer les interventions dans la région de Maradi et d'étendre à l'ensemble de cette région l'approche du PPILDA en matière de valorisation du savoir-faire et des innovations locales, mais il passe à côté du potentiel important que recèle le développement d'un partenariat stratégique avec les services techniques déconcentrés.

Les objectifs stratégiques des COSOP correspondent dans une large mesure à ceux du portefeuille de projets. Les objectifs d'amélioration de la GRN, de sécurisation et d'intensification de la production agricole et d'amélioration et de diversification des revenus ont été partiellement atteints notamment à travers la promotion de la régénération naturelle assistée (RNA), la conservation des eaux et du sol et la défense et restauration des sols (CES-DRS), la petite irrigation et la promotion des activités génératrices de revenus (AGR) à l'intention des femmes. L'organisation des communautés de base a été encouragée à travers la mise en place et le renforcement des capacités de diverses organisations, qui restent au demeurant peu autonomes par rapport aux projets. L'objectif visant à réduire les conséquences de la crise alimentaire a été atteint à l'échelon local grâce à la mise en place des magasins villageois, et à une échelle plus large avec l'élaboration de la Stratégie nationale de gestion des banques céréalières. En revanche, la réalisation des objectifs visant à améliorer l'accès des populations rurales aux services financiers et à développer les infrastructures sociales et économiques a été globalement faible. Ainsi, la performance des COSOP est jugée modérément satisfaisante.

Appréciation de l'ensemble du partenariat entre le FIDA et le Gouvernement. Sur la base de la performance du portefeuille, des activités hors prêts et des COSOP, l'ensemble du partenariat entre le FIDA et le Gouvernement est modérément satisfaisant. Le tableau ci-dessous résume les notes attribuées par l'EPP aux différents critères d'évaluation.

Synthèse des appréciations de l'EPP du Niger

Critères d'évaluation

Scorea

Performance du portefeuille

4

Performance des activités hors prêts

4

Performance des COSOP

4

Ensemble du partenariat entre le FIDA et le Gouvernement

4

a) L'échelle des scores est la suivante : 1 = très insatisfaisant ; 2 = insatisfaisant ; 3 = modérément insatisfaisant ; 4 = modérément satisfaisant ; 5 = satisfaisant et 6 = très satisfaisant.

Recommandations

Dans la perspective de l'élaboration du nouveau COSOP du FIDA pour le Niger, l'EPP formule les quatre recommandations stratégiques suivantes : i) continuer d'axer les interventions sur la région de Maradi, d'abord en investissant dans les capacités des institutions locales, puis en soutenant la diversification des revenus des ruraux pauvres ; ii) favoriser l'adoption d'une approche-programme dans la région de Maradi, en soutenant le développement de la Stratégie de développement rural (SDR) régionale de Maradi et en assurant l'alignement des interventions du FIDA dans la région sur cette stratégie régionale ; iii) faire pleinement usage des activités hors prêts (partenariats, gestion des savoirs et concertation) pour encourager le développement des innovations et en assurer l'application à plus grande échelle ; et iv) procéder à des ajustements du modèle opérationnel du FIDA de manière à l'adapter au contexte particulier du Niger.

Recommandation 1. Orienter les priorités stratégiques du programme du FIDA au Niger, d'abord sur le renforcement des capacités institutionnelles et ensuite sur la diversification des revenus ruraux, en maintenant le ciblage géographique de la région de Maradi. L'IRDAR-RCI aura pour objet de renforcer les capacités des communes et des services techniques déconcentrés (notamment les organisations professionnelles agropastorales - OPA) afin d'améliorer la structuration et l'efficacité des filières de production. Le prochain projet du FIDA, financé au moyen de l'allocation SAFP 2010-2012, devra s'attacher à diversifier les revenus ruraux, une attention particulière étant portée à l'agriculture irriguée marchande, l'élevage et les activités génératrice de revenus (AGR) extra-agricoles. Le projet devra promouvoir, de façon transversale et en partenariat, l'accès des ruraux pauvres aux marchés et le renforcement des services privés.

Recommandation 2. Poursuivre l'évolution vers une approche-programme intégrée à la Stratégie régionale de développement rural dans la région de Maradi. Il s'agit de soutenir le processus de régionalisation de la SDR pour la région de Maradi tel que souhaité par le Gouvernement, et d'intégrer pleinement les interventions financées par le FIDA à la SDR régionale qui constituerait dès lors le « programme » dont le Gouvernement aurait la maîtrise. Le processus du nouveau COSOP du FIDA, et en particulier toutes les analyses qui devront l'accompagner, devra être mis à profit pour approfondir les connaissances du Gouvernement et des PTF opérant dans la région concernant les contraintes et opportunités locales en matière de développement rural. Les orientations stratégiques et les modalités de mise en œuvre du nouveau COSOP du FIDA devront être définies conjointement avec le Gouvernement national et régional et les PTF actifs dans la région de Maradi. Le nouveau COSOP devra prévoir, à travers les activités hors prêts, d'accompagner les partenaires locaux (Gouvernement et société civile) dans la préparation de la SDR régionale de Maradi, d'appuyer la coordination de son exécution et de soutenir le suivi-évaluation de sa mise en œuvre.

Recommandation 3. Poursuivre la promotion des innovations et leur application à plus grande échelle en faveur de la diversification des revenus des ruraux pauvres. Les domaines dans lesquels le FIDA a accumulé une certaine expérience au Niger et pour lesquels il est nécessaire de poursuivre la recherche de solutions innovantes sont notamment la GRN, la petite irrigation, l'accès au foncier, l'accès au marché et le renforcement des moyens d'action des groupes sociaux marginalisés, les femmes en particulier. D'autres domaines pertinents méritent incontestablement un surcroît d'attention, tels que l'élevage sédentaire et les activités extra-agricoles. Le FIDA et le Gouvernement devraient exploiter pleinement l'expérience du PPILDA en matière d'approches de l'identification et de la promotion des innovations en milieu paysan, sans pour autant négliger la capitalisation des innovations et leur application à plus grande échelle, au-delà des projets et de la région de Maradi. À cet effet, le nouveau COSOP devra comporter une stratégie réaliste de promotion et application à plus grande échelle des innovations issues des interventions sur le terrain, faisant pleinement usage d'activités hors prêts.

Recommandation 4. Adapter le modèle opérationnel du FIDA au contexte particulier du Niger, considérant que le pays est confronté à pratiquement toutes les difficultés des pays les plus pauvres. Compte tenu de la forte hétérogénéité des capacités des prestataires de services publics et privés au Niger en matière de techniques et de gestion, il convient de choisir plus judicieusement les partenaires d'exécution des projets, en fonction de leurs capacités, et de prévoir une assistance technique d'accompagnement adéquate appelée à s'estomper au fil du temps. Il est également nécessaire de rechercher la simplicité dans les objectifs et les activités prévues dans le cadre des projets, en tenant compte de la capacité des partenaires d'exécution, qui devrait cependant s'améliorer progressivement. En outre, compte tenu du caractère souvent imprévisible des évolutions du contexte nigérien, il y a lieu de prévoir une souplesse suffisante dans la conception des interventions, afin d'être en mesure de les adapter en fonction de l'évolution de la situation. La supervision et l'appui à la mise en œuvre des interventions financées doivent être renforcés davantage, avec une participation accrue du FIDA, du Gouvernement et des autres partenaires impliqués. Il conviendrait d'augmenter la durée et la fréquence des missions de supervision, mais aussi de faire appel à des prestataires de réputation internationale pour fournir aux projets une assistance technique régulière à la mesure des besoins.

 

 

 

 

LANGUAGES: English, French

Argentina Country Programme Evaluation

Argentina  
janvier 2010

This is the first country programme evaluation undertaken by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD for Argentina. The evaluation found that the performance of the investment portfolio is markedly lower than that of other countries of the region. Implementation processes encountered long delays (double the average for Latin America), which significantly affected effectiveness and efficiency. Although working in such a complex and volatile economic, political and institutional context, IFAD did not take sufficient measures to mitigate the foreseeable risks, such as challenges associated with decentralized provincial implementation. Despite the difficulties presented, IFAD-funded projects have helped increase family incomes in Argentina through the promotion of profitable and appropriate technologies.

 

LANGUAGES: English, Spanish

Nigeria Country Programme evaluation (2009)

Nigeria  
septembre 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  
juillet 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  
janvier 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  
décembre 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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