Review of the Program-for-Results (PforR) Financing Instrument


In early 2012, the World Bank introduced a new lending instrument, Program-for Results (PforR). When approving the instrument, the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors asked for a review of the new instrument after two years of implementation. They noted that implementation experience in the first two years would be limited, but expected that some valuable lessons could be learned from review of preparation of operations and of early implementation experiences. Read the review.

Two major objectives of the review:

  • assess the early experience with the design and implementation of PforR operations and the challenges faced by borrowers, development partners, and Bank staff;
  • identify emerging early lessons and recommend any proposed changes to the PforR framework that would strengthen the instrument.

Methodological approach and process of the review:

  • A literature and desk review was carried out by five working groups organized thematically around the following areas: overall management and organization, results and disbursement-linked indicators (DLIs), fiduciary aspects, environmental and social aspects, and program scope and related capacity-building efforts and partnerships.
  • Two surveys were conducted, both having internal and external contributors. The first survey was sent to country directors, country managers and their counterparts in client countries that have no PforR operations under implementation or preparation. This survey assessed the nature and extent of the knowledge and dialogue around the PforR instrument. The second survey was sent to Bank managers, task teams and their country counterparts and asked for their perspectives on PforR operations that were approved or under preparation. Following the surveys, structured interviews were conducted with government officials and with senior Bank managers, providing more qualitative insights about the experiences and lessons learned.
  • Consultations on the findings of the review were undertaken with key stakeholders.


  • Task teams and managers who worked with the instrument participated as members of the working groups and of a sounding board that vetted findings of the review to ensure that they were consistent with the experience of front-line staff working on the operations.
  • Two oversight groups were established: an internal advisory group of directors representing various Regions and Practices from across the Bank. These groups provided guidance and advice on the review at various milestones; and an Independent External Panel of Experts3 comprised of technical experts with relevant skills and experiences. In addition to monitoring the process and providing guidance to the Bank team working on the review, the Independent External Panel of Experts provided a statement to the Board to accompany the staff report.

The review, completed and delivered to the Bank Board in April 2015 identified lessons and recommendations, finding that the PforR instrument has been successfully rolled out across a broad range of countries and sectors.

The Board supported the thoughtful way this innovative, different instrument was introduced, maximizing the learning that could be gained. Clients gave positive feedback on their experience of using the instrument, with the majority of government officials reporting they would likely use PforR again in the next two to five years.