IEG Fast Track Brief

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Fast Track Briefs inform the World Bank Group (WBG) managers and staff about new evaluation findings and recommendations.

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    Egypt - Country Assistance Evaluation
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) Thomas, Vinod
    Between fiscal 1999 and fiscal 2007, the period under review in this Country Assistance Evaluation (CAE), Egypt's economic performance improved substantially, particularly after 2004, following improvements in economic management, structural reforms, and correction of the exchange rate. The GDP growth rate averaged about 5 percent per year over this period, rising to almost 7 percent in 2006 and 2007, translating into a per capita income growth of almost 3 percent per year, a strong performance. Future Bank strategy should reflect Egypt's middle-income status by including a flexible lending program and an emphasis on knowledge services, including reimbursable technical assistance. The Bank can further strengthen the recent successful partnership by: (i) identifying direct and indirect interventions that could help reduce income disparities through improving the targeting of social safety nets; (ii) focusing analytic work on macroeconomic analysis and income disparities, and improving its dissemination; (iii) pursuing further financial sector reforms and promoting reforms that indirectly combat corruption (public financial management, simplification of taxation and business procedures, and an information act); and (iv) emphasizing sectoral strategies and policy and institutional reforms in infrastructure and energy.
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    Ethiopia : Country Assistance Evaluation, 1998-2006
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-03) Thomas, Vinod
    Ethiopia is among the World Bank's largest IDA-eligible borrowers in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a country portfolio comprising 22 active projects for a total net commitment of US$2 billion as of end-FY07. The Bank's overarching objective during the period under review (FY98-FY06) was to support the Government in its efforts to reduce poverty by helping to: (i) promote pro-poor growth; (ii) advance private sector development; (iii) enhance human development; (iv) respond to the needs of post-conflict and emergency rehabilitation; and (v) improve governance. The evaluation finds that IDA's country strategy for Ethiopia and the associated program during the period under review were relevant to the country's development needs, which included the need to manage (and over time reduce the country's exposure to) frequent exogenous shocks and a fragile socio-political environment, especially following the post-election violence in 2005. IDA's strategy and program were also aligned with those of other development partners (DPs). The efficacy of the program was somewhat below average when measured against the goals envisaged at the outset. There were positive outcomes inter alia in post-conflict rehabilitation, economic growth, roads development, education and health. In contrast, the outcomes were less favorable in the key areas of private sector development and governance, which are crucial to sustaining growth over the longer-term and ensuring that its benefits are widely shared.
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    Evaluation of World Bank Support for Public Sector Reform
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-02) Thomas, Vinod
    The effectiveness and efficiency of a country's public sector is vital to the success of development activities, including those the World Bank supports. Sound financial management, an efficient civil service and administrative policy, efficient and fair collection of taxes, and transparent operations that are relatively free of corruption all contribute to good delivery of public services. Although a majority of countries that borrowed to support public sector reform experienced improved performance in some dimensions, there were shortcomings in important areas and in overall coordination. The frequency of improvement was higher among International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) borrowers than among International Development Association (IDA) borrowers. Performance usually improved for public financial management, tax administration, and transparency, but performance did not usually improve with respect to civil service. Direct measures to reduce corruption such as anticorruption laws and commissions rarely succeeded. Recommendations to the Bank focus on improving guidelines for civil service and anticorruption reforms and on setting realistic objectives and sequencing for reforms. The Bank has helped develop tools to improve transparency and reduce bureaucratic corruption, such as the Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS), quantitative service delivery surveys, and the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS).