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AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK GROUP MAURITANIA EVALUATION OF BANK ASSISTANCE TO THE SOCIAL SECTOR OPERATIONS EVALUATION DEPARTMENT (OPEV) 17 March 2005 TABLE OF CONTENTS ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS i EXECUTIVE SUMMARY PREFACE iii 1. COUNTRY BACKGROUND Economic background of country Social background of the country Social sector: development policies and sector strategies...2 Poverty reduction strategy...3 Education sector development policy and strategy...3 Health sector development policy and strategy EVALUATION OF THE BANK S ASSISTANCE STRATEGY The Bank s social sector policy Bank strategy for the country...5 Education...5 Health...5 Poverty reduction Relevance of the Bank s assistance strategy and coherence with the country s development strategy EVALUATION OF RESULTS: NON-LENDING ACTIVITES Summary of activities Country Strategy Paper (CSP) Portfolio reviews Coordination of assistance and donor interventions in the sector EVALUATION OF RESULTS: OPERATIONS Summary of operations Education...10 Objectives...10 Efficacy...11 Efficiency...12 Institutional development Health...13 Efficacy...13 Efficiency...14 Institutional development...15 4.4 Poverty reduction...16 Objectives...16 Efficacy...16 Efficiency...16 Institutional development...16 Objectives...17 Efficacy...17 Efficiency...18 Institutional development SUSTAINABILITY ANALYSIS Technical viability Economic and financial viability Social viability OVERALL EVALUATION OF THE SOCIAL SECTOR Bank assistance strategy Bank performance in project preparation and appraisal Bank performance in supervision Borrower s performance in project design Borrower s performance in project implementation CONCLUSIONS, LESSONS LEARNT AND RECOMMENDATIONS Conclusion Lessons learnt Recommendations...27 Recommendations to the Bank...27 Recommendations to the country...27 ANNEXES Annex 1 Annex 2 Annex 3 Annex 4 Annex 5 Recommendations and follow-up measures Summary of Bank operations in the agricultural sector Combined results of lending operations Evaluation ratings Socio-economic indicators This Report was prepared by Mr. H. RAZAFINDRAMANANA, Principal Evaluation Officer, (Extension 2294) with the assistance of a consultant after a mission to Mauritania in September Questions on this report can be addressed to Mr. G. GIORGIS, Director of OPEV, (Extension 2041) ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS ADB : African Development Bank ADF : African Development Fund AHOP : Annual Health Operational Plan AMEXTIPE : Agence mauritanienne d exécution des travaux d intérêt public pour l emploi (Mauritanian Public Projects Agency for Employment) AMINA : African Microfinance Initiative APROMI : Association of Microfinance professionals and operators CCU : Community credit union CDH/LCP/I : Commissariat aux droits de l homme, à la lutte contre la pauvreté et à l insertion (Human Rights, Poverty Reduction and Integration Commission) CFP/CEG : Centre de formation des professeurs de collège enseignement général (First cycle general secondary school teachers training center) CIDA : Canadian International Development Agency CREE : Créer votre entreprise (Setting up your own business) CSET : Centre supérieur d enseignement technique (Higher technical education center) CSP : Country Strategy Paper DAF : Department of Administration and Finance DBHU/MET : Department of Construction, Housing and Town Planning / Ministry of Equipment and Transport DETP : Department of Education and Training Projects DPCS : Department of Planning, Cooperation and Statistics DPM : Department of Pharmacy and Medicines EFRP : Economic and Financial Recovery Program ENFACOS : Ecole nationale de formation administrative, commerciale et sociale (National School of Administration, Trade and Social Affairs) ENS : Ecole normale supérieure (Higher Teachers Training College) ENSP : Ecole nationale de la santé publique (National School of Public Health) EPCP : Economic prospects and country programming GDI : General Directorate of Investments GERME : Gérer mieux votre entreprise (Improving the management of your business) HP : Health post IBD : International bidding documents IDA : International development agency IEC : Information, education and communication PMFI : Partner microfinance institutions SN : Social nurse ISS : Institut supérieur scientifique (Higher Scientific Institute) LCEP : Lycée et collège d enseignement professionnel (Vocational College and High School) - Nouakchott MEAD : Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development MNE : Ministry of National Education MRO : Ouguiya (national currency unit) MSAS : Ministry of Health and Social Affairs MSE : Micro and small enterprises NESDP : National Education Sector Development Program NMFS : National Microfinance Strategy NSEW : National Strategy for the Empowerment of Women NSO : National Statistics Office PIU : Project Implementation Unit ii PROCAPEC : Agence de promotion des caisses populaires d épargne et de crédit (Credit Union Promotion Agency) PRP : Poverty Reduction Project PRSP : Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper SDA : Social Dimensions of Structural Adjustment SME : Small and medium size enterprises ESDSP : Educational System Development Support Project SRN : State-registered nurse SST : Specialized Senior Technician SSWA : Secretariat of State for Women s Affairs UNDP : United Nations Development Program UNFPA : United Nations Population Fund UNICEF : United Nations Children s Fund CFPM : Centre de formation professionnelle et maritime (Vocational and Maritime Training Center) (Nouadhibou) CEP : Centre d enseignement professionnel (Vocational Training Center) (Boghé) WHO : World Health Organization iii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1. This report evaluates Bank Group assistance to Mauritania s social sectors, notably in education, health and poverty reduction. The evaluation focuses on the Bank s operations strategies, lending operations and non-lending activities, with special emphasis on Bank interventions in the country since The criteria used for evaluation were: relevance, efficacy, efficiency, impact on institutional development and sustainability. The methodology adopted was based on available basic documentation and field work. Collecting data for closed projects was a major problem. Only one completion report had been drafted or was available for the approximately ten projects evaluated. Hence, there is a certain loss of institutional memory for some old projects, aggravated by the institutional changes that have occurred in the country and the rapid mobility of project managers. Evaluation of assistance strategy 2. From 1976 (starting date of ADB operations in the social sector) to 1994, Bank assistance to Mauritania focused on financing lending operations mainly for infrastructure projects. During that period, the Bank helped to increase the intake capacity of the country s health and educational facilities, although policy dialogue focused manly on the financing of given projects. Even though the Bank conducted health sector studies from 1985, at a time when Mauritania was initiating its Economic and Financial Recovery Program that had a direct impact on all sectors, its interventions rather focused on infrastructure, neglecting policy and program aspects that were crucial to the sector s institutional development. 3. From 1995, during formulation of CSP , the priority given to social sectors resulted in more policy and program dialogue that directly led to an increase in the volume of lending and non-lending operations. Since then, the Bank has played a more active role in supporting institutional reforms. During this second period, the Bank s priorities (poverty reduction) were in line with those of the country. Although the Bank has concentrated most of its resources on education, its interventions in the social sectors give the impression that it has adopted a strategy of unfocused and generalized assistance that gives it no visibility. On this last point, however, the blame is shared with the country. In the health sector, the program approach that the Bank intended to adopt was undermined by the inadequate attention paid to new institutional changes which required that consideration be given to certain aspects of the country s development policies and strategies. With regard to poverty reduction, the combined results of the AMINA Program and the PRP have created employment and laid the foundation for microfinance development. CONCLUSIONS, LESSONS LEARNT AND RECOMMENDATIONS Conclusions 4. Bank Group assistance to Mauritania s social sectors is neither uniform over all the periods under consideration, nor identical for the various sub-sectors and projects. Although most of the projects financed in the first phase ( ) focused on infrastructure, this option was actually adopted in response to the country s needs and demands. Two factors contributed to the diversification of Bank assistance: (i) the negative impacts of structural adjustment policies had been clearly revealed by surveys conducted under the SDA Project thus giving the Bank valid justification for increasing resources to the social sectors; and (ii) the democratic process initiated in Mauritania in 1992 made local and national elected representatives to pressurize the Government into addressing social demands. iv 5. Since 1996, when the Bank could effectively give priority to social sectors, the share of such sectors in its portfolio has grown from 14% to the current 19%. This phase of Bank assistance, characterized by greater emphasis on poverty reduction, is also marked by the adoption of a program approach in the education and health sectors. Though relevant, this approach has, however, shown its limits: (i) the rigidity of project cycles is not consistent with the program approach which is basically flexible; (ii) it requires efficient coordination of assistance, and since the Bank has no local representation, it is condemned to follow the other actors on the ground; (iii) the program approach requires a process of regular evaluation or enhanced annual supervision; and lastly (iv) it calls for the creation of ad hoc cross-sectoral or inter-departmental structures (working groups) within the Bank itself to enhance appreciation of complex project challenges and harmonize the interventions of the various operational departments. Lessons learnt The main lessons learnt from the evaluation are the following: (i) The absence of project completion reports, or their drafting long after the project comes to an end, contributes to the loss of institutional memory and makes postproject evaluation arbitrary; (ii) The length of the project cycle, from preparation/evaluation to appraisal/implementation, often suffers from a time overrun caused by changes in the situation on the ground that are not taken into consideration during effective start-up of the project (see 6.2.1; 6.3.1; and 7.1.2); (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) If the Bank does not conduct regular evaluations, sector studies or enhanced supervision missions, the program approach will lead to a dead end, and produce yet another ordinary project (see 4.3.2; 4.3.7; and 7.1.2); Although total Bank assistance has been substantial, especially in the education sector, it has often suffered from a lack of visibility, giving the impression that the Bank is lagging behind other partners like the World Bank, UNESCO and WHO (see 2.2.2; and ); The lessons learnt from the Bank s experience in past projects, with regard to definition of attainable goals and appreciation of the Borrower s managerial, planning and absorptive capacity, were not sufficiently factored into project preparation/appraisal (4.1.2; 4.3.3; and 6.4.1); The overall weakness of management mechanisms for microfinance institutions (MFIs) and the non-appraisal of the performance of partner MFIs undermines the impact of the poverty reduction project on institutional development, and therefore on results (4.4.6; 4.4.9; and 5.4.3); Improving services in the public sector, particularly in health, will be possible only if private sector development is taken into consideration (2.2.1; and 5.4.2). v Recommendations Recommendations to the Bank (i) (ii) Review of Bank assistance: Prepare completion reports for closed projects within a maximum period of one year (see 1.2; and 4.1.2); Work overload for Bank experts: Create the right conditions to enhance monitoring of Mauritania within the Bank by avoiding frequent changing of the country s taskmanagers and reducing the number of projects they manage (6.3.2); (iii) Project cycles: Conduct a study to improve on the cycle of Bank projects by introducing participatory planning and greater flexibility. This could entail organizing a strategic planning exercise in the country at appraisal and introducing systematic operational planning with the project team (once it is set up) and with the main project stakeholders. A second operational planning exercise would be necessary after the review (see 6.2.1; 6.3.1; and 7.1.2); (iv) Pre-project preparation: Define realistic, measurable goals during project preparation and appraisal, bearing in mind the performance of past projects and the capacity of project implementation structures (4.1.2; 4.3.3; and 6.4.1); (v) Program approach: Create strong synergies within the Bank between the operational departments (OCSD, OCAR, Microfinance Unit), especially for poverty reduction projects and programs, and conduct sector studies in the country (see 4.3.2; 4.3.7; and 7.1.2); (vi) Visibility of Bank assistance: Ensure greater visibility for Bank action by creating a country office, a documentation center and a communication service (see 2.2.2; and ). Recommendations to the Bank and the Country (i) (ii) Country Strategy Paper: Organize an internal review within the country, involving all stakeholders (Government, elected representatives, private sector, civil society) prior to the CSP seminar, so that they can reach a consensus on the country s areas of intervention (2.2.2; 3.2; and 7.1.2); Impact on institutional development: Conduct a technical audit of the project s partner MFIs and finance such audit with resources recovered by the project, and mobilize resources to re-update the study and implement the second phase of the poverty project (4.4.6; 4.4.9; and 5.4.3); (iii) Private sector: Implement a pharmaceutical policy aimed at developing private sector awareness and encouraging its involvement in infrastructure and equipment maintenance (2.2.1; and 5.4.2). vi Objective of study PREFACE The objective of this evaluation is to conduct a systematic review of Bank assistance to Mauritania s social sector, focusing on Bank and country strategies as well as aid given through lending and non-lending operations (studies, institutional development, policy guidance and dialogue, coordination of assistance and resource mobilization, etc.). The projects targeted in this review were evaluated at different periods, and an indicative list of them shows that they run from 1976 for the oldest to 2001 for the most recent. Seven out of the total number of projects (10) covered by this post-evaluation have been completed, and the study focuses mainly on Bank interventions in the country since It was conducted, therefore, to gauge the efficiency of the Bank s operations strategy in the social sector, evaluated in terms of its vision, areas of intervention and the relevance, efficacy and sustainability. The scope of the social sector in this case covers Bank assistance to education, health and poverty reduction. Social sector operations in Mauritania focus on about 10 projects: 4 (four) education projects, 4 (four) health projects, 1 (one) poverty reduction project and 1 (one) social dimension of structural adjustment support project. Nonlending activities include policy and program dialogue (CSP, portfolio reviews, seminars, etc.) and coordination of donor interventions. During the period under consideration, seven projects were completed and three are ongoing (Education and Health). Special attention was paid to the impact of completed projects as distinct from the impact of ongoing projects. Evaluation methodology The evaluation methodology was based, first of all, on the examination of basic documentation available at the Bank. Obtaining documents was a major problem for closed projects. Of all the completed projects, only one (SDA) had a completion report from the Bank. Since it was difficult to obtain documents on projects financed by the Bank, much effort was devoted to fieldwork. However, since the completed projects were relatively old, especially in the health sub-sector, it was difficult to meet their managers, most of whom were unavailable due to retirement or transfer. Hence, it is difficult to conduct a post-evaluation of these projects because there is a loss of institutional memory for past projects, mainly as a result of institutional changes in the country and the great mobility of project managers. This situation is compounded by the irregularity and limited number of status and supervision reports, with the notable exception of the PRP. Certain project sites were visited (Rosso, Atar and Akjoujt) and discussions held with professionals in health and education structures and with beneficiaries (members of health committees and parent-teacher associations). The discussions focused on their perception of the impact of projects funded by the Bank, especially in comparison to the pre-project situation. These efforts do not, however, cancel the need for a true documentation structure responsible for archiving documents of completed projects. 1. COUNTRY BACKGROUND 1.1 Economic background of country The implementation of policy reforms, initiated through the Economic and Financial Recovery Program (EFRP ), the Economic Consolidation and Growth Program (PCR ) and the Economic Policy Framework Paper (EPFP ) substantially transformed the economic landscape of Mauritania at the macro-economic and structural levels. These policies (EFRP, PCR, EPFP) were aimed at: (i) restoring macroeconomic stability; (ii) gradually liberalizing the economy; (iii) reforming key sectors (public corporations, mining, banks, fisheries, agriculture, etc.); and (iv) developing human resources (education, health, etc.). However, these reform attempts were undermined by a series of exogenous shocks, namely: (i) the droughts of 1990, 1991 and 1992 which affected the country s agriculture; (ii) the decline in catches in the fishery sector, occurring concomitantly with the fall in the prices of iron ore which affected export earnings; and (iii) the consequences of the Mauritano-Senegalese conflict and the Gulf crisis which disrupted financial flows to the country and caused substantial deficits The slow GDP growth of the early 1990s was accompanied by a gradual expansion of the informal economy especially in urban areas. Real income from modern sector activities had declined in the 1980s, while income from informal sector activities was growing rapidly, especially at the end of the period. This expansion of the informal economy is one of the major trends of the decade. During the decade, Mauritania s economy experienced only moderate growth on the whole. The average growth rate was 3.6%, which is well below the threshold of 6-8% generally considered to be the level at which poverty reduction is possible. To make matters worse, the population of Mauritania grew at a fairly rapid rate of 2.9% per year over the same period, meaning that real GDP per capita grew by an average rate of only 0.7% per year Although living conditions remain difficult for most Mauritanians, major initiatives were taken in various sectors of the economy, especially between 1994 and During the same period, the donor community strongly supported Mauritania s efforts by providing financial assistance in the implementation of development programs and taking measures to reduce its debt burden. The country reach
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