ONGOING: Independent Evaluation of AfDB's Program Based Operations (2012-2017)

Date: 16/10/2017
Type: Corporate Evaluation
Sector(s): Energy & Power, Private Sector
Status: On-going

Program based operations (PBOs), formerly called “policy based operations” and popularly known as “budget support”, involve providing (fungible) funds directly to a country’s national treasury to support the national budget. Guided by its PBO Policy, approved in 2012, the African Development Bank (AfDB) uses both general and sector budget support instruments. In order to assess the AfDB’s use of PBOs, the Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) is conducting an evaluation covering the period 2012-2017, during which 80 operations amounting to UA 6.4 billion were approved.[1]

The rationale for this evaluation is four-fold. Firstly, the 2012 PBO Policy indicated that IDEV would conduct an evaluation around five years after the policy’s adoption – so there is a commitment to evaluate, and to do so at this point in time. Secondly, there is currently particular attention for the issue of budget support from members of the AfDB’s Board of Directors, and also from Bank operations departments – so there is already significant interest. Thirdly, PBOs account for more than a quarter of Bank approvals in the period – the evaluation is therefore substantial. Fourthly, a PBO is a very different instrument from project finance, with particular risks and benefits that require separate investigation in order to maximize the potential for learning from previous experience and improving the use of PBOs in the future.

The evaluation will seek to address three main questions:

  1. To what extent is the Bank appropriately programming, designing and managing its PBOs?
  2. What is the evidence regarding PBO performance, particularly for the Bank in the priority areas of energy and private sector enabling environment?
  3. Looking forward, how can the Bank ensure it optimizes its use of PBOs, including to help it to achieve results in its five priority areas, the High 5s[2]?

Within this context, the evaluation team will seek to understand both how well the Bank has performed and the factors that have facilitated or hindered good performance of its PBOs.

The evaluation will be based on various components of data collection and analysis, including two clusters of case studies. A comparative analysis with the approach of other institutions conducting PBOs in Africa will also be undertaken. With regard to results, the evaluation will focus on two specific areas where PBOs have been used in recent years, and which are also important priorities for the High 5s – energy and private sector enabling environment. The evaluation team will consult with a wide range of stakeholders and beneficiaries, using semi-structured interviews, focus groups and surveys. The evaluation will be evidence based, will draw on primary and secondary sources, and make use of both qualitative and quantitative data.

 N.B: please note that the data provided in the approach paper is provisional and will be confirmed during the inception phase.

Task Manager: Penelope Jackson


[1] Approval data up to July 2017

[2] The five priority areas of the AfDB (High 5s) : Light up & power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate AfricaImprove the quality of life for the people of Africa

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