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Africa Gender Innovation Lab - Impact Evaluations: Private Sector Development

August 23, 2017


The Gender Innovation Lab conducts impact evaluations in four key areas including agriculture, private sector development, land & assets and youth employment, as well as a handful of impact evaluations that explore new areas of research or provide specific support to an ongoing project. The lab is currently working on more than 50 impact evaluations across Sub-Saharan Africa.

1. World Bank, Democratic Republic of Congo/Rwanda Cross-Border Traders Project

This project provides training on taxes and tariffs and information on gender-based violence to small women traders in the borderland of the Great Lakes Region. This evaluation will analyze the impact of the training on levels of corruption, gender-based violence, and socio-economic outcomes of the women.

2. World Bank Democratic Republic of Congo Western Growth Poles

The World Bank Western Growth Poles project will support the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to rehabilitate roads in the Bas-Congo region and provide agricultural productivity, processing and marketing services to farmers in the area. The project targets 40 percent female beneficiaries, as women in the DRC are disadvantaged by legal restrictions in their ownership rights to land, and thus are less likely to invest in agricultural technology and access extension services. The study will evaluate the combined impacts of roads rehabilitation and agricultural productivity services on women’s time use; demands on their unpaid labor; participation in education; access to health services; and agency and empowerment.

3. World Bank, Ethiopia Competitiveness and Job Creation

The objective of the Competitiveness and Job Creation (CJC) Project for Ethiopia is to contribute to job creation by attracting investments and improving competitiveness of enterprises in the targeted industrial zones (IZ) and their linked domestic enterprises. The impact evaluation will examine the impact of access to jobs in the industrial zone on employee welfare, and will conduct ancillary research on issues prioritized by the CJC firms, including analyses on employee performance and retention, and impacts of wage subsidies.

4. World Bank, Ethiopia Women and Entrepreneurship Development Project (WEDP)

WEDP provides support to financial institutions that fund small and medium enterprises SMEs), as well as training to women who manage SMEs. The evaluation will measure the impact of both project components on women's well-being in terms of increased business knowledge, income and employment levels.

5. World Bank, Ghana Financial Inclusion and Savings Promotion, North Volta Rural Bank

Even though individuals throughout Africa employ numerous informal savings mechanisms, only a quarter of individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa have bank accounts. Moreover, these savers only keep a small proportion of their savings in these accounts. Yet banks could provide more secure and private storage of funds, and offer positive interest rates. This study is piloting and evaluating the impact of new banking products and services designed to attract more (and lower income) customers, and to attract a higher percentage of individuals’ savings.  The mini pilot phase tested a savings deposit collection service in which collectors visit customers regularly at home or work to collect savings deposits; and giving lockboxes to customers.  The larger scale phase will integrate services that can be provided via mobile phones.

6. World Bank and North Volta Rural Bank, Ghana Impact of Formal Savings on Salaried Workers’ Spending and Borrowing

Many of North Volta Rural Bank's customers who are salaried workers, and therefore receive their pay via direct deposit to NVRB, make frequent use of high interest payday loans (temporary overdrafts). As part of a randomized controlled trial with these customers, including 245 men and 75 women, NVRB offered a product in which customers commit to having a fixed amount taken directly from their salary and put in a commitment savings account, for an 18-month period. The key questions this study will answer are (i) How do individuals adjust their finances in response to regular, automated savings withdrawals? (ii) What do they spend the lump sum on? And (iii) Are there any long-term impacts of having participated in the commitment savings program on economic activities/income, or savings, debt, or spending behavior? (iv) How are these different for men versus for women? This study is being carried out in partnership with Simone Schaner of Dartmouth University; Robert Darko Osei of University of Ghana; the World Bank’s Finance and Private Sector Research Team; and Innovations for Poverty Action.

7. World Bank, Ghana Making Cash Grants Work for Female Entrepreneurs

Building upon previous research work conducted in urban Ghana, the key objective of this experiment is to identify innovative ways of disbursing cash grants so as to maximize their impact on the profits and growth of female-owned businesses. More specifically, the experiment tests the relative effectiveness of providing (i) unconditional cash grants; (ii) grants conditional on first reaching a pre-defined savings goal; and (iii) grants conditional on both the beneficiary and her partner attending a training on allocation of resources within the household. Both the savings collection service and the trainings are implemented by local partners.

8. World Bank, Guinea Women Entrepreneurs and Crossing Over

The project seeks to learn about how to expand women’s entrepreneurs access to information, skills and mentoring to grow the number of women who start their business in higher male-dominated profitable sectors. This evaluation studies the impact of providing women entrepreneurs with adequate information, technical support, coaching and know-how, as well as internship exposure, in succeeding as entrepreneurs in male dominated productive sectors.

9. World Bank, Kenya The Impacts of Microfranchising on Young Women in Nairobi

This impact evaluation is of the Girls Empowered by Microfranchise (GEM) program in Nairobi, Kenya. The degree to which microfranchising is successful – as quantified in this project – will be informative about the extent to which the burden of devising a business plan hinders entrepreneurship. As the first ever impact evaluation of a randomized microfranchising intervention, the expectation is that findings will make a valuable contribution to the literature on the overall impacts of expanding credit access and providing capital to entrepreneurs in low-income countries. The randomized evaluation compares women in the GEM program to a pure control group and an unconditional cash grant group. A pilot evaluation took place from 2011 to 2013; the main impact evaluation began in 2013 and field activities concluded in 2015. 

10. World Bank, Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project

This program will include a national business plan competition to award grants of US$18,000 or US$36,000 to entrepreneurs age 18 to 25 with high potential to create jobs for vulnerable youth. 1,500 shortlisted applications will receive 1-week training.  This stud will build on the recent Nigeria YouWin! Study to examine whether smaller grants can work. 

11. World Bank, Malawi Business Registration Impact Evaluation

Within the context of the Government of Malawi’s Business Environment Strengthening Technical Assistance Project (BESTAP), this evaluation is assessing the benefits of formalization for small and medium enterprises, examining the effects for specific groups of enterprises, particularly by gender of the business owner. The evaluation is also assessing the effects of a complementary training on the benefits of separating household and business money and offering business bank account.

12. World Bank, Mauritania Sahel Livelihoods (ASP) Safety Net Project

This program includes a cash transfer plus accompanying measures to serve the extreme poor in Mauritania.  Additional measures include sensitization on aspirations and social/gender norms, VSLA, personal initiative training, coaching for business plan, cash grant, information on prices and markets and follow up coaching.  This program is across 6 countries in the Sahel but this evaluation will focus on Mauritania.  This study will test the impact of various packages to build on recent graduation approach evidence. 

13. World Bank, Mozambique Matching Grant Scheme for Business Performance

This evaluation will assess the impact of the Mozambique Government’s matching grant program on business performance. It will also assess the effects of the program by gender of the entrepreneur and for sectors where the majority of the employees are women. Considering that women are reported to be more credit constrained, the evaluation will help shed light on the importance of this constraint.

14. 14. World Bank, Mozambique Integrated Growth Poles Project

The IGPP is supporting targeted investments in public goods and services in zones with high growth potential. Many of these investments will be executed by the private sector. This impact evaluation will focus on the impacts of select IGPP-supported investments in the Zambezi Valley on individuals and smallholder farmers. Some of these investments will focus on linking smallholder farmers to markets, and for these the impact evaluation’s key outcomes of interests will include sales of agricultural outputs. Other investments, for example, will focus on skills and vocational training programs, and for these key outcomes will include wage employment. This study will examine how men and women are affected differently by IGPP-supported investments, and will possibly look at complementary effects across these different investments.

15. World Bank, South Africa Online Marketplace

This project aims to investigate the impacts of an online marketplace. Working with a large South African Bank and an online service provider, we will examine how increasing women and men's access to (virtual) networks and improved information increases business revenues and profits.

16. World Bank, Tanzania Virtual Business Incubator:

This evaluation looks at the effects of a virtual business incubator providing full spectrum business development support for poor female entrepreneurs in Dar es Salaam. The GIL is evaluating intervention’s impact on enterprise and household outcomes, including gender based violence and transactional sex. 

17. Exxon Mobile Foundation, Tanzania Women Business Connect

Many women small-business owners living in low-income settings remain unbanked and generally rely on informal saving mechanisms. They also appear to lack the necessary business skills to expand their enterprises.  Innovations in mobile savings products give women access to a convenient, safe and private platform for saving and making payments. Can access to mobile savings, by itself or combined with business training, increase women’s savings and business investments, and ultimately their incomes? GIL is partnering with ExxonMobil Foundation, Center for Global Development, and TechnoServe to evaluate the impact of access to mobile savings products, with and without training on business skills for women small-business owners in urban Tanzania.

18. World Bank Togo Managerial Training for Informal Firms

This impact evaluation will assess the effects of two managerial training programs, one targeting informal firms and the other formal enterprises, on managerial performance of female and male business owners. For informal firms, the evaluation will compare the effects of two competing courses: a traditional management course and an innovative entrepreneurship training program, which will include leadership and negotiation skills, as well as information sessions on investing in sectors with higher returns (which may help women crossover to male dominated sectors).

19. World Bank and Katwe Small Scale Industry Association, Uganda Workers Apprenticeship and Managerial Training Skills Program (KASSIDA)

This evaluation assesses the impacts on performance of a technical and managerial training program in the informal sector, and investigates gender differences in these effects. A qualitative study will seek to understand the constraints women face in starting businesses in male-dominated sectors. The impact evaluation will also test the effects of the two types of training on the business owners’ networks of contacts.