West Africa RISP Completion Report Validation

Published by: 
Independent Development Evaluation, African Development Bank
Publication Date: 
September, 2019

Document Type:

The validation provides an independent review of the evidence presented and results reported in the completion report. It also assesses the quality of the evidence provided to support the self-assessment and the recommendations presented for the new Regional Integration Strategy Paper. The validation is based on: i) a desk review of available documentation on the performance of the WA-RISP (i.e. the RISP itself, RISP mid-term review, RISP completion report, and Implementation Progress Reports and completion reports of individual projects) and ii) meetings and discussions with the WA-RISP completion report team, at different stages. It was guided by an annotated format that provides for an objectives-based assessment of performance, and implicitly covers three of the five OECD-DAC evaluation criteria, namely: relevance, effectiveness and efficiency.

The validation found that the Bank’s portfolio under the WA RISP is very relevant to regional priorities, Bank strategies and policies regarding regional integration, as well as country strategies in the ECOWAS region. However, it identified weaknesses in the results matrix. The validation found the effectiveness of the RISP satisfactory for the achievement of outputs, but could not provide an assessment on outcomes achievement due to lack of data in the completion report. Efficiency was rated unsatisfactory, due to delays and a relatively low disbursement ratio. Some projects were cancelled during the RISP period. Finally, the validation did not assess the sustainability criterion, which was not covered in the completion report. In general, the validation found insufficient evidence to support the completion report’s conclusions that implementation of the RISP has been successful and that the achievement of results is satisfactory.

Lessons learned

The validation concurs with the following lessons in the completion report:

  • Concerning regional infrastructure development, at the strategic level, there is a need to address both hard and soft infrastructure to promote transport and trade.
  • Due to pressing issues such as food security, climate change and resilience, the mainstreaming of the “Sahel paradigm and strategy” in integration priorities is key for fostering true integration of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
  • The need for the Bank to move away from emergency solutions, and to adopt a strategic health development approach across the region.
  • At the operational level, the need to strengthen the implementation capacity of executing agencies and Regional Economic Communities (ECOWAS and WAEMU – the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union), particularly, in the procurement and disbursement rules and procedures of the Bank.

and suggests two additional lessons:

  • Given the project implementation capacity deficits in the region, regional project readiness can be a serious concern and should not be under-estimated.
  • The strategic focus on private sector development is of critical importance for accelerating structural transformation and fostering cross-border trade and investment. Regional solutions can be an effective approach towards improving the enabling environment for private sector development.

Recommendations for Bank Management

  1. Continue to support Regional Economic Communities and executing agencies, especially with regard to their procurement and disbursement policies and processes. This will contribute to strengthening project management capacity and improving regional projects’ performance.
  2. In the next RISP cycle, strengthen results tracking, analysis, reporting and use. A well-designed RISP Theory of Change is required to ensure that projects’ results are clear and relevant, and that indicators are appropriate, specific, comprehensive, and can be effectively monitored. The mainstreaming of cross-cutting issues in Bank interventions should also be improved, as well as output and outcome monitoring and reporting.
  3. While infrastructure development remains the main area of support of the Bank, capacity building in support of project implementation should continue to be a strategic priority. In addition, the Bank should focus on ensuring quality at entry of infrastructure projects to ensure their smooth implementation.