IFC advisory services grew without coherent frameworks, says report

Sabah Hamamou
3 Min Read

CAIRO: The International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s investment and advisory services grew without coherent global strategic framework, Independent Evolution Group (IEG) said in its 2009 report on IFC’s development results, released yesterday in Cairo.

The evaluation process came for reasons of accountability, learning and to show the results of resources allocation, said Marvin Tylor-Dormond, director of IEG, in his presentation.

The report traced the relation between knowledge and development in Egypt and Kenya.

IEG’s report came to the conclusion that “despite organizational improvement in the delivery of advisory services, IFC’s expansion came without a coherent global strategic framework.

The report also found that “70 percent of the advisory projects [by IFC] achieved overall high ratings for development effectiveness. Performance was strongest in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia and weakest in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Tylor-Dormond stressed that knowledge – not just financial and physical resources – is a fundamental part of development assistance, especially to countries like Egypt.

The IEG report said that IFC needs to improve investment performance in the region. Business climate, corporate practices and stronger IFC appraisal and supervision are vital.

IEG gave five main recommendations to IFC: “clear rules of engagement; promote prudent risk management; develop an overall advising service strategy; pursue more programmatic advisory services interventions; improve pricing policy execution – by [creating] greater client contributions and consider value-based pricing; and finally strengthen advisory services performance measurement and knowledge management

IEG and IFC chose African Development Bank (ADB) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to comment on the report.

In his comments, Douglas Barnett, lead result expert on private sector for ADB, said that IFC “could improve on existing advisory services strategy .

He also advised IEG to “continue to produce shorter briefs about topics raised in the report.

As for IDB’s Abdel-Hameed Bashir, he recommended that the IFC focus on efficiency in implementing projects, sustainability and how to make evaluation results more useful.

IEG chose Egypt to release the report instead of Washington DC for several reasons. “The MENA region and Arab countries has special priority for the [WB] group. Egypt has the largest portion of IFC’s portfolio in the MENA region, and also we need to hear more voices from MENA, said Tylor-Dormond.

IEG is an independent unit within the World Bank. It evaluates the relevance and impact of the World Bank Group s support to developing countries to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.

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