Defining our engagement with countries
The Bank Group has a systematic, evidence-based model for providing financial, analytical, and advisory services to countries, focusing on strong country ownership and good development outcomes. The Country Partnership Framework (CPF) guides the Bank Group’s support to a country over a four- to six-year period, while retaining flexibility amid rapidly changing global and national circumstances. It is the central tool for management and the Board when reviewing and guiding our country programs. The Bank, IFC, and MIGA jointly prepare and implement the CPFs by:
- Taking into account the country’s development goals.
- Drawing on the Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD), prepared in close consultation with national authorities, the private sector, and other stakeholders.
- Considering the Bank Group’s comparative advantage, lessons learned, and other partners’ activities.
- Aligning with the Bank Group’s goals and the Bank’s commitments from our capital increase in 2018.
Since fiscal 2019, CPFs for countries whose gross national income per capita makes them eligible to graduate from IBRD incorporate the policy commitments made under the capital increase. In consultation with the borrowing country, IBRD activities focus on interventions to strengthen policies and institutions for sustainable graduation from IBRD. Complementary IFC investments help provide critical services not available on the market.
The CPF includes a results framework of agreed outputs and outcomes for activities that are under implementation or planned. A Performance and Learning Review assesses the country program after two years or at the midterm of CPF implementation. At the conclusion of each CPF, the Bank Group performs a Completion and Learning Review, which informs the preparation of the next country program. This process has been in place since July 2014. As countries move into the next cycle of engagement, “second-generation” SCDs (all subsequent SCDs following the first one prepared for a country) are prepared. In fiscal 2021, the Bank Group prepared SCDs in eight countries and new CPFs in nine countries. Amid the pandemic, the preparation of most CPFs has been suspended until it is possible to articulate a new program. The Bank Group continues to support countries through strong lending and analytical programs to support the crisis response and inform recovery as well as strengthen the foundational and analytical basis for SCDs and CPFs. Under our new Climate Change Action Plan, we also introduced new Country Climate and Development Reports as part of our core country-level analytical products.
During the pandemic, we have adjusted country programs to help countries respond to the crisis and prepare for recovery, while maintaining a strong focus on the long-term development agenda. This work aligns with the four pillars of the Bank Group’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Approach Paper. Adjustments include portfolio actions, reallocation of approved funds to higher-priority activities, new or additional financing, and frontloading of crisis relief in the operations pipeline. CPFs and Country Engagement Notes that were under preparation have been refocused to reflect the impacts of COVID-19.
The Bank offers a variety of instruments and approaches to help countries achieve their development goals. These include Investment Project Financing (IPF), which helps build physical and social infrastructure and develop institutional capacity; Development Policy Financing (DPF), which supports policy and institutional reforms, including through guarantees; and Program-for-Results Financing (PforR), which links the disbursement of funds to the achievement of predefined results. In fiscal 2021, we revised guidance to explicitly incorporate considerations of race and race-based discrimination or exclusion into operations across all our lending instruments.
The Bank Group has used the full suite of instruments to support countries’ responses to the pandemic. IPFs were used to strengthen the health response as the pandemic unfolded, initially focusing on testing and health equipment and later the acquisition and deployment of vaccines. DPFs were mobilized to support institutional and policy measures for crisis response and recovery, supporting reforms in health, social protection, fiscal and debt management, business regulations, public administration, education, environment, rural development, and labor. In support of key development goals, 97 percent of DPFs approved in fiscal 2021 have at least one prior action that contributes to climate adaptation or mitigation, and 70 percent of DPFs contribute to narrowing gender gaps.
The PforR instrument has had a strong impact since its introduction in 2012. With the removal of the cap on PforR commitments, effective fiscal 2020, it was mainstreamed across the Bank. In fiscal 2021, 30 PforR operations totaling $9.5 billion were approved; 81 percent of these contribute to narrowing gender gaps and 93 percent contribute to climate adaptation or mitigation. We continue to refine our use of results-based financing in IPF projects to strengthen outcomes.
The Multiphase Programmatic Approach (MPA), introduced in fiscal 2018, allows countries to structure complex engagements as a set of linked operations or phases under one program. In fiscal 2020, the Bank applied the approach globally for the first time, which enabled rapid mobilization of IDA and IBRD financing to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. In fiscal 2021, the COVID-19 Health Strategic Preparedness and Response Program made up to $18 billion available for countries to support their emergency response, acquire and deploy vaccines, and strengthen health systems.
Support to small states
Small states (countries with a population of 1.5 million or less) face unique development challenges owing to their small population and economic base, which make them particularly vulnerable to exogenous shocks, natural disasters, and climate change. They have been among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19. In fiscal 2021, the Bank Group provided financial support to 23 small states, amounting to $1.1 billion; $893 million of this supported the response to COVID-19.
In addition to crisis response financing and operational support, we help address these countries’ distinct challenges through the Small States Forum, a platform for high-level dialogue among the 50 member countries that convenes at the Annual and Spring Meetings. In fiscal 2021, members called on the international community to recognize the pandemic’s heavier impact on small states, especially island economies relying on tourism. They also urged a strong IDA20 replenishment to ensure adequate support for immediate crisis response and their countries’ long-term recovery.
Providing countries with technical advice and analysis for development outcomes
Bank Group advisory services and analytics (ASAs) enable countries to implement better policies and strategies and strengthen their institutions so that they can sustain development gains over the long term. At the country level, this work underpins our SCDs and CPFs, government programs, and projects supported by Bank financing. At the regional and global levels, it helps inform solutions for development in the form of global public goods, good practice notes, toolkits, and capacity building. In fiscal 2021, the Bank produced 1,357 ASA products in over 135 countries. These addressed key topics such as economic policy, human development, social protection, governance, urban and rural development, and climate and the environment. They included real-time analysis of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as ways to help countries rebuild better and achieve broad-based recovery.
Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) are requested and paid for by country clients; all member states are eligible to request these services, including non-borrowing countries. In fiscal 2021, we produced 100 RAS products for 28 countries. These provided technical assistance, capacity building, and implementation support to countries on various topics, including public financial management, productivity, investment climate, integrated value chains in agriculture, urban development, social development, public transport, and early childhood development.
Valuing the opinions of country stakeholders
The World Bank Group Country Opinion Survey Program annually assesses the views of thousands of decision makers and influencers across borrowing countries. In fiscal 2021, we surveyed stakeholders in 47 countries. The data suggest that their leading concerns include education, governance, jobs, anti-corruption, and agriculture.