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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Emergency Drought Recovery Project

1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
Project Name:
Emergency Drought Recovery Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 50.51  54.39
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 50.00  52.88
Sector, Major Sect.:
General agriculture fishing and forestry sector, Central government administration, General education sector, Health, Other social services,
Agriculture fishing and forestry; Law and justice and public administration; Education; Health and other social services; Health and other social services
Cofinancing (US $M)
L/C Number:
C3715; CH011      
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
11/30/2004 11/30/2004
Evaluator: Panel Reviewer: Group Manager: Group:  
Silke Heuser
Ronald S. Parker Alain A. Barbu OEDSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
a) To allow the Government to maintain key commitments to its economic and investment priorities consistent with the PRSP process while fulfilling its immediate obligations to avert famine.

b) To help restore the productive capacity of the country.
c) To support longer-term disaster management in the country.

b. Components (or Key Conditions in the case of Adjustment Loans):
a) Quick disbursing assistance to support critical imports (appraisal US$40m, actual US$43.56m).
b) Income support for drought-affected families through public works projects and social investments for vulnerable groups (appraisal US$8m, actual US$9.24m).
c) Support for implementation, technical assistance, and studies (appraisal US$2m, actual US$1.59m).

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
The total project cost at appraisal was US$50.5m of which the IDA credit was US$29m equivalent, and the IDA grant US$21m equivalent. Project costs increased by US$3.88m financed by foreign exchange gains that accrued to the project because of the depreciation of the credit and grant dollar amounts against the SDR. In addition, the government contribution increased from an original US$0.51m to US$1.51m. US$10m worth of fertilizer and petroleum products were retroactively financed and US$33.56m were spent on other imports. The project was fully disbursed in two years.

3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

The project made significant contributions in benefiting about two million low-income Malawian households and preventing the food crisis destabilizing macro-economic performance. Better monitoring of the first signs of the beginning food shortage among low-income families, however, would have prevented the drought from triggering a food crisis.
The project supported Government’s PRSP (completed in April 2002) and the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) (May 2003). Some of the central issues of the PRSP and CAS were taken up by the project.

4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

a) To allow the Government to maintain key commitments to its economic and investment priorities consistent with the PRSP process while fulfilling its immediate obligations to avert famine: Substantially Achieved.
Quick disbursing assistance to support critical imports):The quick disbursing financing of critical imports contributed to stabilizing the Gross Official Reserves to around two months of import cover, and also to stabilizing the exchange rate and domestic inflation. The objective to support drought recovery through a positive list of imports was fully achieved and exceeded appraisal targets because of exchange rate gains. Imports of petroleum and fuel amounted to 16% of total imports and were mainly used for the distribution of relief food, benefiting among others 210,000 pupils with school feeding and an additional 115,098 pupils with take home rations; fertilizer imports accounted for 22%; and medical equipment and school supplies accounted for 22%. The remaining 40% covered import of spare parts, animal products and veterinary supplies, livestock, school supplies, vehicles, and farm equipment.
b) To help restore the productive capacity of the country: Substantially Achieved.
The project achieved the target of 335 public works projects. 134,000 unskilled laborers earned on average US$15 per beneficiary, which was used for purchasing food, seeds, and fertilizer. Under the social support program, vulnerable groups received a total of 171 hammer maize mills to increase their income, to improve their food security, and to reduce labor demand on women. An information, education, and communication unit was set up late into the project which informed beneficiaries of their entitlements and developed 32 drought mitigation messages transmitted to farmers via radio and puppet plays.
c) To support longer-term disaster management in the country: Substantially Achieved.
Most of the studies and pilot projects were finalized. Five panel discussions were held with civil society groups, heads of donors, and faith-based organizations; Malawi’s participation in three Southern African Development Community (SADC) meetings was financed in order to craft a regional approach to prevention and management of crises; in addition to statistics on food and livelihood, data on livestock and horticultural output were collected to better capture the agricultural sector GDP; meetings of the technical steering committee for field supervision and monitoring were held; a food and nutrition strategy was completed, though only after project closure; and 360 extension workers were trained. In addition, an emergency action plan was produced, disaster teams in all 11 districts were trained as trainers, and flood control structures were constructed.

5. Efficiency:

As is common with emergency recovery assistance, no economic or financial analysis was carried out at the time of appraisal or was attempted in this ICR.
6. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

An ongoing monitoring and evaluation system was developed by combining elements of a simple tracking system and field visits by the Technical Steering Committee (TSC) which reviewed reports generated by the PCU tracking system. Implementation arrangements of the Public Works Projects (PWP) from component b) was changed to include an NGO better able to monitor income transfer outcomes. According to the Borrower’s ICR, the Ministry of Agriculture, responsible for component c), did not conduct any M&E on the project despite being requested by the PCU to do so.
7. Other (Safeguards, Fiduciary, Unintended Impacts--Positive & Negative):

The appropriate safeguards were reviewed during appraisal and it was concluded that the project would not have a major environmental impact. However, during implementation it became apparent that separate environmental and social screening assessments for road construction involving resettlement had to be filed for the EDRP. This oversight caused a delay of six months in the start-up and implementation of component b).

8. Ratings:
OED Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.: 
Bank Perf.: 
Borrower Perf.: 
Quality of ICR: 

- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for OED to arrive at a clear rating, OED will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- ICR rating values flagged with ' * ' don't comply with OP/BP 13.55, but are listed for completeness.

9. Lessons:

A conflict exists between the ERL requirement for quick implementation and the incorporation of medium/long-term disaster management objectives.
  • Food crises can be prevented by early interventions. In drought-prone areas, governments and the Bank have to be alert to the first signs that farmers are selling animal herds and consuming seeds and quickly intervene in order to prevent the drought triggering a full-fledged food crisis.
  • High staff-turnover may delay project implementation in emergencies. The project was affected by a very high turnover of staff, especially at key strategic and very senior positions. Over its two-year life-span there were five changes of Principal Secretaries in the Ministry of Agriculture and four changes of the Controller for the Planning Department. On the Bank’s side, the project had three task managers, which led to concern about the continuity of supervision and institutional memory of the project.
  • An emergency operation can only be designed on the basis of sound statistics and credible policy. Although the project accorded priority to a sound database, progress putting it in place was slow. At the time of the emergency, critical economic and agricultural data to enable assessment of the crisis and to provide the basis for the design of this project were either lacking or, if available, poor in quality and inconsistent. Moreover, what data was available was widely dispersed among Government and nongovernmental institutions. This situation distracted from optimal planning, and it needs to be speedily resolved to avoid a repeat in the event of another emergency.
  • Especially for emergency relief operations, an efficient monitoring and evaluation system needs to be developed and implemented in a very short time. Developing a blueprint for a simple and standardized system is recommended for ERLs.

10. Assessment Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  This project provides valuable lessons for drought management in Africa and would be helpful to inform the Bank’s experience with emergency recovery assistance.

11. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The quality of the ICR is satisfactory. However, figures under 5.4 Costs and Financing on p. 8 of the ICR, do not match with costs provided in the tables on p. 21 f., and the Borrower’s ICR on p. 41.

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