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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-08-28) Independent Evaluation GroupThis evaluation explores how and with what effect the World Bank Group has supported financial inclusion for the microenterprises, poor households, women, and other excluded groups. Financial inclusion is defined as the use of financial services by individuals and firms. It encompasses financial access—owning an account—and the use of financial services. There has been an impressive growth in account ownership globally, from 55% of adults in 2014 to 71% in 2021, although usage is more limited as some accounts are inactive. Critically, both financial access and the use of financial services remain major challenges for microenterprises, poor households, women, and other excluded groups. The objective of the evaluation is to assess whether the Bank Group has been doing the right things and whether it has been doing things right on financial inclusion. The evaluation captures lessons from the World Bank’s experience supporting financial inclusion for microenterprises, poor households, women, and other excluded groups and updates a 2015 financial inclusion evaluation. The evaluation includes a retrospective look at the drive for universal financial access and examines progress and challenges in women’s access to financial services. The evaluation also assesses the Bank Group’s support for digital financial services as vehicles for financial inclusion. Finally, the report examines the World Bank’s response to COVID-19 as it relates to financial inclusion. The evaluation proposes three recommendations: (i) The World Bank and IFC should further encourage account use by underserved groups, including women and rural poor people, and emphasize this more in their strategies and projects. (ii) The World Bank and IFC should design and implement more comprehensive approaches that address constraints in the enabling environment for DFS to reach underserved and excluded groups. (iii) To enhance learning on what works to increase the beneficial use of financial services at the MPWEG, the World Bank and IFC should collect outcome data across different underserved and excluded groups, initially on a pilot basis.
Addressing Gender Inequalities in Countries Affected by Fragility, Conflict, and Violence: An Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Support(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-08-10) Independent Evaluation GroupConflict and fragility increase the exposure of women and girls to gender-based violence (GBV) and make it more difficult for them to access social services, including sexual and reproductive health services. Fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) also exacerbate their vulnerability to poverty and increase their unpaid work burden from their caregiving role. The increase of situations of fragility and conflict in recent years has called the World Bank Group to step up its engagement in these contexts and to adapt its approach to address gender inequalities in FCV countries. The Bank Group recognizes in many corporate and strategic documents, such as the 2020-2025 FCV strategy, that for Bank Group support to produce meaningful and lasting results toward greater gender equality in FCV countries, it needs to have five specific elements. These elements include relevance, depth, sustainability, scale, and inclusive ownership. The evaluation uses these elements to assess the Bank Group’s country support for women’s and girls’ economic empowerment (WGEE) and GBV prevention and response. The evaluation analyzes in depth the experiences of six countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, the Solomon Islands, and the Republic of Yemen) where the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) provided support to advance WGEE and address GBV during the past 10 years. The report draws on a combination of in-depth desk review of documents, more than 200 interviews of World Bank and IFC staff, government partners, and national and international stakeholders, and field visits, focus group discussions, and face-to-face interviews in. The evaluation analyzes the factors that enable and constrain meaningful and lasting results in addressing gender inequalities in FCV contexts and offers four recommendations to inform future Bank Group support.
Publication(Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022) Independent Evaluation GroupThis Country Program Evaluation (CPE) assesses the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group’s engagement with Bangladesh during the past decade (fiscal year [FY]11–20) and provides lessons to inform the next Bank Group supported strategy with Bangladesh and to countries facing similar challenges. The Bank Group made important contributions over the past decade to help Bangladesh address several of its development challenges. Most notable include increasing power generation capacity, improving access to clean energy, all season roads, primary and secondary education, reducing child and maternal mortality and improving financial inclusion. However, achievements fell short in several areas, including insufficient investment in data and measurement particularly on learning outcomes and limited progress on regional connectivity. In other areas, domestic vested interests prevailed resulting in little progress in improving the business environment, natural resource management, banking reform and tariff reform. Bank Group support adapted in response to changing circumstances following the Padma Bridge cancellation by reallocating resources to sectors in which the Bank Group had more traction and a long-standing history of effective engagement. However, rising fiscal vulnerabilities received insufficient attention. Despite a deteriorating trend in institutional quality and economic management and declining core IDA allocation, the Bank Group significantly increased financing to Bangladesh, including through IDA’s Scale Up Facility. Key lessons include: (i) Rebalancing the portfolio in the face of a difficult political economy helped the Bank Group remain relevant in Bangladesh; (ii) Where reform is deemed critical to sustain development progress but government commitment is weak or absent, continued targeted analysis of key development constraints can help prepare the ground for future action when a window of opportunity presents itself; (iii) Measuring improvements in the quality of education requires deliberate and ongoing investment in data collection; (iv) Increasing overall IDA financing in the context of deteriorating CPIA rating raises a question about the significance that IDA assigns to measures of institutional quality and governance; (v) Given underlying concerns with data quality and coverage, the World Bank might have been more qualified in its public statements about the quality of the macroeconomic framework; and (vi) Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) arrangements between the World Bank and the IMF constrain the ability of the World Bank to provide comprehensive and timely assessments of financial sector vulnerabilities in nonsystematically important economies.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021) Independent Evaluation Group ; World BankThe Management Action Record (MAR) is a key element of the World Bank Group’s accountability framework. The MAR supports accountability in the follow-up of Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) evaluation recommendations by enabling meaningful tracking, dialogue, and self-assessment of World Bank Group management’s implementation of IEG recommendations. There are 15 evaluations in this year’s MAR. The document covers IEG’s synthesis of progress toward achieving IEG evaluations’ intended outcomes and its assessment of the approach and evidence in management’s MAR report entitled Using Evaluative Evidence to Deliver Development Outcomes: A World Bank Group Management Report on Implementation of IEG Recommendations FY17-21.