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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Africa Emergency Locust Project


  
1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
04/30/2013   
Country:
Africa
PROJ ID:
P092473
Appraisal
Actual
Project Name:
Africa Emergency Locust Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 73.37  77.49
L/C Number:
C4019, C4020, C4021, C4022, C4023, C4024, C4025
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 60.00  70.17
Sector Board:
Environment
Cofinancing (US $M)
   
Cofinanciers:
Board Approval Date
  12/16/2004
 
 
Closing Date
06/30/2009 05/31/2011
Sector(s):
Crops (50%), Central government administration (30%), Agricultural extension and research (10%), Other social services (10%)
Theme(s):
Natural disaster management (33% - P) Pollution management and environmental health (17% - S) Other rural development (17% - S) Social safety nets (17% - S) Regional integration (16% - S)
         
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
Hassan Wally
Judyth L. Twigg Soniya Carvalho IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:

According to the Project Technical Annex (PTA, p. 1), the Project Development Objective (PDO) was to "reduce the vulnerability of the concerned countries to future infestations by supporting improved strategies for prevention, early warning, reaction, and mitigation, at both the national and regional levels."

According to the Development Credit Agreement (DCA), the objective of the project was to "strengthen the capacity of the Borrower to prepare and implement programs and actions designed to prevent, control, and manage desert locust infestation within its territory and in the region, and to mitigate its economic, environmental, and social impact, including impact on agriculture production, livestock, and food supply."

This ICR Review assesses the project against the objectives as stated in the DCA, which is more specific and clearly states the actions that would be undertaken to control and manage locust infestation.

This project was implemented in seven countries: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, and The Gambia.

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
No

c. Components:

The project contained four components:

Component A. Emergency Locust Management. (appraisal cost: US$27.21 million, actual cost: US$17.52 million). This component aimed to support cost effective and timely emergency and long term locust management actions in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner, and to demonstrate a mechanism for safe disposal of obsolete pesticides. Activities were to include the following:

  • Emergency Locust Campaign. To evaluate needs for pesticides (short- and long-term), acquisition of equipment, aircraft rental, and operating cost. Activities were to feed into national plans for locust management.
  • Pesticide inventory storage and safeguarding. To ensure that pesticides are stored in a safe manner following international standards, and to verify that only pesticides allowed by the country are used (no banned products, no Persistent Organic Pollutants). Where needed, pesticides storage sites were to be upgraded to meet international standards for storage of pesticides.
  • Locust Management Financing Mechanism (for future campaigns). To set up a financing mechanism (possibly housed within the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), or other regional organization). An endowment of US$ 2 million from each country was to form the basis for this Locust Emergency Fund, which could be accessed by each country on a matching grant basis, or other methods to be defined as part of the project.
  • Obsolete pesticide disposal. The project would finance the repackaging, transport and incineration of obsolete pesticides.

Component B. Emergency Agriculture Investments. (appraisal cost: US$18.30 million, actual cost: US$14.5 million). This component aimed to restore agricultural productivity in priority rural areas damaged by locusts. The project would provide seeds and fertilizers to rural farmers so that they could restore their livelihood. Support could include provision of "starter packs" (seeds, fertilizers, tools), and might also include working through existing community driven development or social projects.

Component C. National Capacity for Early Warning. (appraisal cost: US$9.28 million, actual cost: US$20.62 million). To improve national capacity for early warning of future locust outbreaks.

Component D. Project Management. (appraisal cost: US$6.201 million, actual cost: US$14.54 million). To ensure effective management of the project and accommodate shifting requirements and priorities of the effort of assisting with management of locust infestation and its impact on people and the environment in concerned countries.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project Cost. According to the Project Technical Annex (p. 28) the project appraisal cost was US$73.37 million, including US$12.39 million categorized as project preparation in advance. Actual project cost was US$77.49 million (ICR, Annex 3). The ICR (p. 3) points out that funds were reallocated between categories of expenditure three times (2007, 2009 and 2010) during implementation. Funds were mainly shifted from the procurement of large quantities of pesticides to upgrading and building new storage facilities needed to safeguard pesticide stocks. In addition, funds were shifted from equipment procurement to building country capacity for prevention and early warning, response and reaction mechanisms (ICR, p. 3).

Financing. The PTA (p. 27) stated that the total required financing for the project was US$60 million. The project received US$70.17 million from the Bank (IDA-Loan), representing 116% of the appraisal value. The ICR does not explain why total project costs and Bank financing were higher than at appraisal.

Borrower Contribution. The project received a total of US$7.32 million in counterpart funds as follows:
US$0.49 million from the Government of Burkina Faso representing 200% of the appraisal value, US$0.36 from the Government of Chad representing 20% of the appraisal value, US$2.55 million from the Government of Mali representing 112% of the appraisal value, US$1.5 million from the Government of Mauritania representing 60% of the appraisal value, US$1.26 million from the Government of Niger representing 472% of the appraisal value, US$0.77 million from the Government of Senegal representing 145% of the appraisal value, and US$0.39 million from the Government of Gambia representing 52% of the appraisal value.

Dates. The project was scheduled to close on 06/30/2009. The closing date was extended twice for a total period of 23 months to 05/31/2011. The ICR (p. 3) highlights that the first extension was for 12 months and included all seven countries (Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, and The Gambia). The Gambia was not included in the second extension as project implementation was completed by the first extension. Niger needed six months after the first extension to complete project activities. According to the ICR (p, 3) the extensions were necessary to accommodate: "(i) the late date of project effectiveness (project was approved on December 16, 2004, and became effective on May 25, 2005); (ii) political turmoil in Chad, which slowed the implementation of project activities there; (iii) national institutional changes and political turmoil in Mauritania, which led to suspension of disbursements from August 2008 to January 2009; (iv) the slow pace of institutional reforms to establish independent national locust control centers; (v) slow procurement processes and delays in the execution of civil works; and (vi) delays in the elaboration of environmental management plans for pesticide storage facilities."


3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:
Relevance of objectives is rated high. The seven countries covered under the project have suffered and continue to be under threat of locust invasion. Such invasion could severely impact agricultural productivity and threaten food security. The project objectives contributed to food security and called for the protection of agricultural productivity against migratory desert locusts. The project objectives were and remain in line with the poverty reduction and rural developmental strategies for Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and The Gambia (PTA, pp. 53, 74, 93, 111, 130, 151). Objectives were also in line with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Program - CAADP), which emphasizes better disaster prevention and mitigation and risk management as one on the main instruments for growth and poverty alleviation (PTA, p. 35). The early warning and response system envisioned by the project was also in line with the 2010 World Bank Climate Change Strategy for sub-Saharan Africa, "Making Development Climate Resilient" (ICR, p. 11).

b. Relevance of Design:
Relevance of design is rated substantial. Design featured three main components that addressed the locust problem from different angles. The first component was mainly aligned with national plans for locust management and included activities geared towards managing desert locusts and identifying physical and technical needs necessary for effective locust control. The second component aimed to support agricultural productivity in impacted areas through the provision of agricultural inputs to farmers. The third component aimed to improve national capacity for early warning of future locust attacks. Design also attempted to mitigate environmental risks arising from poor handling of pesticides through support for safe disposal methods. Design also aimed to capitalize on the Bank's comparative advantage to contribute country-level financing for activities that complemented funds committed by other donors for regional initiatives (ICR, p. 11).

However, design included a statement of objectives with a broad outcome that did not explicitly specify the target pest that the project aimed to control (in the PTA). Design also was not clear on guidelines for compensating victims of locust infestations versus drought-related damage.


4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :


Achievement of the objective to strengthen the capacity of the Borrower to prepare and implement programs and actions designed to prevent, control, and manage desert locust infestation within its territory and in the region is rated substantial.

Outputs:
  • Under the guidance of the project, 62 locust-control and survey units (appraisal target: 50, baseline: 12) were created in Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, fully staffed by the respective governments, and their recurrent costs earmarked in the national budgets compared to none in 2004.
  • The project also supported an equipment management plan and a training plan targeting the population, technicians, and higher level professionals. To build national capacity, 28 graduate and postgraduate scholarships were awarded in six countries (ICR, p. 20). By project completion 90 percent of locust control teams (appraisal target: 100 percent) were applying best practice methods for locust control compared to a baseline of 20 percent (ICR, p. viii).
  • The project supported the rehabilitation and construction of 29 regional locust monitoring bases (appraisal target: 29) compared to a baseline of none (ICR, p. ix).
  • The project supported the rehabilitation or construction of 26 pesticide storage facilities (appraisal target: 7).
  • The project promoted improved pesticide management measures, including increasing the percentage of volume of pesticides safeguarded in line with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) norms, updating stock inventory, and maintaining proper decontamination and destruction of empty pesticide containers (ICR, p. 13). According to the ICR (pp. 15-16), in Mali about 15 tons of metallic containers and 10 tons of plastic containers were successfully treated at a private facility in Senegal, 98 percent of containers were collected and recycled in Mauritania, while in Chad and Niger containers were collected and stored in storage facilities due to the complexity of recycling in both countries or absence of adequate facilities. This raises some environmental concerns, as the ICR (p. 16) reports that in Niger some additional empty containers were being used for domestic purposes for drinking water, animal troughs or small furnaces. By project completion a pesticide management database was in place in the 7 countries.
  • The project financed research on biological control of locusts and integrated pest management through several joint research programs at the regional and national levels and encouraged the use of alternative locust control measures through the promotion of biopesticides such as Green Muscle*. The project established agreements with research institutions in Niger to promote biopesticide research; in Mauritania to encourage research programs in the areas of genesis and evolution of a gregarious locust population and production of vegetative maps of locust swarming areas; in Senegal to encourage impact assessment and environmental monitoring of treatments against pests, toxico-vigilance, analysis of pesticide residues, pesticide formulation, and compliance; in Mali to improve knowledge about locusts and digitally map sensitive areas. In Burkina Faso the project supported a national locust observatory to monitor the locust situation using GIS spatial data. Although six of the seven countries have the capacity to apply biopesticide for locust control (The Gambia biopesticide program was cancelled due to deficiency of the national agriculture research center), FAO recommended improving the durability, efficiency, and physical stability of Green Muscle before using it on a large scale (ICR, p. 19).
  • The project supported regional coordination under Food and Agricultural Organization and the Commission for Desert Locust Control in the Western Region (CLCRPO), where IDA funds were leveraged to enable the seven countries to participate in two workshops, in 2006 in Algiers and 2008 in Bamako. This regional coordination facilitated the development of a country risk management plan that included roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in locust control for each of the seven countries. Such plans had been nonexistent in 2004 (ICR, p. 13).

Outcomes:
  • The project supported establishing an early warning, reaction, and mitigation system, at both the national and regional levels, for locust infestations. It helped countries to improve locust control through coordinating an agreed-upon regional contingency plan that included monitoring, detection and control actions, all funded by the governments of countries participating in the project (ICR, p. 12). With project support, control and early warning systems were enhanced through the implementation of a sustainably funded risk management plan. The ICR (p. 13) reports that all countries exceeded the minimum score of 33 out of 48 (Burkina Faso, 37; Chad, 43; The Gambia, 40; Niger, 43; Mauritania, 44; Mali, 43; and Senegal, 39) required for effective early warning. The early warning system and mitigation plans proved effective and enabled three front line countries (Mauritania, Niger, and Chad) to detect at an early stage three locust resurgences between 2009 and 2011 in their respective countries, and to react in a timely manner (average of 1 to 5 days compared to several weeks prior to the project) to control and prevent pest propagation in the region. This avoided a major regional outbreak that could have potentially wiped out crops and pastures, as happened previously in 2004 (ICR, p. 13).

Achievement of the objective to mitigate its economic, environmental, and social impact, including impact on agriculture production, livestock, and food supply is rated modest, due to lack of information on the impact of project-financed activities.

Ouputs:
  • The project supported 400,000 households (appraisal target: 285,000) impacted by the 2004 invasion by providing agricultural inputs and equipment, micro-grants, revenue-generating micro-projects, and community infrastructure sub-projects.
  • The project also supported the establishment of a socioeconomic impact mitigation mechanism that allows emergency funding to combat future locust invasions and provides economic compensation for people impacted by locust invasion. This mechanism was mainstreamed into the national disaster risk management (DRM) plan in each of the seven countries (ICR, p. viii).

Outcomes:
  • Satisfaction surveys of beneficiaries and a 2008 evaluation indicated that inputs enabled beneficiaries to resume agricultural production and reach or sometimes exceed pre-invasion levels. However, the absence of baseline data and close monitoring of income-generating micro-projects prevents a quantitative evaluation of restored livelihoods (ICR, pp. 17, 53). IEG finds that the assessment of this objective is challenging given the absence of relevant indicators as well as data at baseline and at project completion.


* "a naturally occurring fungus (Metarhizium anisopliae), that is deadly to both locusts and grasshoppers but does not damage other insects, plants, animals, or people (ICR, p. 18)."

5. Efficiency:

An ex ante economic analysis was not performed during project preparation due to the emergency nature of the project. The ICR (Annex 6) included an ex post economic analysis covering the lifetime of the project from 2005 to 2011. The ICR (p. 22) highlights that due to the limited availability of precise health, environmental, social, and economic data necessary for a full ex post economic analysis, IDA and country investment costs, including the four project components, were adjusted by a standard conversion factor (shadow prices), and the benefits (factor costs) were derived by proxy. The analysis uses a conservative approach with an averted loss of only 0.1% of the agricultural value added and pasture yield (mainly focusing on agricultural economic opportunities as a proxy). The ICR (p. 22) points out that the three resurgences of locust outbreaks that were detected and effectively mitigated during project implementation could have potentially wiped out at least 10% of the agricultural value added in each of the seven countries. The Region states that new locust upsurges were stopped in 2006 and again from 2009-2011, The ICR economic analysis focuses on three levels:

(i) the entire project: where the overall analysis of the four components of the project yielded a net present value (NPV) of US$49.0 million over seven years and a benefit/cost ratio of 2.5 associated with a positive economic internal rate of return (IRR) greater than 200 percent;
(ii) project components (considering IDA-only as well as IDA and country disbursements): where six out seven countries had positive net economic benefits, with the exception of The Gambia, which according to the ICR (p. 22), had the second-slowest agricultural GDP growth over the period (+9 percent against 10.3 percent for the seven countries as a group) mainly because of lower budgeted funds for the project and the sector;
(iii) IDA infrastructure and equipment: where the overall analysis of infrastructure and equipment yielded a NPV of US$29 million over a period of 7 years and at a 12 percent discount rate and a cost/benefit ratio of 3.3 and a positive IRR (higher than 200 percent) (ICR, p. 22). All countries showed positive economic benefits except Mauritania, which had the lowest actual growth of its agricultural GDP due to high variability of rainfall particularly in the seasons of 2006 and 2007.
The ICR includes also a sensitivity analysis in which The Gambia and Mauritania failed to pass the benefit/cost criteria and Niger failed to pass the infrastructure and equipment analysis (ICR, p. 23).

IEG finds that the economic analysis could have benefitted from some measure of cost effectiveness for infrastructure-related activities. There are also a number of concerns that cast doubt on efficiency. First, in all seven countries the operating costs by far exceeded the appraisal estimates. Second, the economic analysis showed unfavorable results for three out of the seven countries (The Gambia, Mauritania and Niger, where project cost for the three countries was US$25.35 million representing about 33% of the total project cost). According to the ICR (p. 23), The Gambia had a negative IRR for all components. The ICR (p. 23) attributes this to poor agricultural growth over the project period and to lower budgeted funds for the project and the sector. Also, Mauritania had a negative IRR for the project components and for infrastructure/equipment. The ICR (p. 23) attributes this to factors outside the scope and control of the project (high variability of rainfall, particularly in the seasons of 2006 and 2007). In addition, Niger had a negative IRR for infrastructure/equipment because of the purchase of an aircraft at a cost of US$1.5 million that was not used during the project life due to lack of recurrent cost financing (ICR, p. 23). Third, the ICR provides limited information on the cost efficiency of US$14.5 million that supported activities under component B.

In a subsequent communication, the Region explained that for Operating costs, the longer term need to provide funds for the national units had not been expressed by the countries at the time of appraisal, where their initial priority was to deal the emergency outbreak. This was evaluated during the mid-term review and supervision missions, and reallocations of credit proceeds were done accordingly. The funds were used to co-finance with the Government the costs of the locust control teams operating in remote areas, often in very challenging conditions, which required in some cases high security escort operating costs. This allowed for: (i) carrying out yearly survey activities of locusts; and (ii) reacting in a timely manner and controlling, in the very early stages, locust outbreaks that happened between 2009 and 2011 in front-line countries. Regarding Economic analysis, the Region states that the unfavorable results of the economic analysis in three countries was due to the ultra-conservative stance that was adopted to perform the ex-post economic analysis. The discount rate used in the analysis is 12%. According to the Region, an alternate approach would apply the social discount rate, which is currently estimated at 8% as an upper bound, of which 4-6% is the rate at which any of the 7 countries could borrow (from the market) and to which a country risk of 1-2% is added. A rerun of the economic analysis using this 10% discount rate produces positive results across the board, hence allowing the project and components to be viable (except for The Gambia).

Overall, efficiency is rated modest.

a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:


Rate Available?
Point Value
Coverage/Scope*
Appraisal:
No
%
%
ICR estimate:
Yes
200%
100%

* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated

6. Outcome:

Relevance of objectives is rated high since the seven countries covered under the project have suffered and continue to be under threat of locust invasion. Design is rated substantial. Design featured three main components that comprehensively addressed the objectives from different angles. Achievement of the first objective is rated substantial. The project succeeded in strengthening the readiness for locust invasion and improved the borrower's capacity to prepare and implement programs and actions designed to prevent, control and manage desert locust infestation. However, achievement of the second objective is rated modest, as there is limited direct evidence on the extent to which the project mitigated the social, economic and environmental impact of locust invasion, including impact on agriculture production, livestock, and food supply. Efficiency is rated modest. While the Region's argument about using a discount rate closer to real borrowing costs seems reasonable, and the Region's statement that new locust upsurges were stopped in 2006 and again from 2009-2011, there are a number of concerns that cast doubt on efficiency, including limited information on the impact of US$14.5 million that supported activities under component B, operating costs by far exceeding the appraisal estimates in all seven countries, and the purchase of an aircraft in Niger at a cost of US$1.5 million that was not used during the project's lifetime due to lack of recurrent cost financing.

In light of the Region's information about efficiency and new locust upsurges being stopped in 2006 and again from 2009-2011, and the fact that the project invested more in the first objective than the second, outcome is rated moderately satisfactory.

a. Outcome Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

Risk to Development Outcome is rated high. The political instability in some countries could threaten the sustainability of achieved outcomes, especially in regions of northern Mali that are currently out of control of the central Government, and regions of northern Niger and the western parts of Mauritania where security is becoming a concern. Another risk stems from the capability of national governments to maintain readiness and capability to respond to future locust threats in light of mounting social, economic, and financial concerns linked to volatile global economies (ICR, p. 25). The ICR (p. 25) points out that the close involvement of governments in project implementation raised awareness to the locust threat and should ensure continued priority of the agenda. Another area of concern is the management of pesticide stocks, where the ICR (p. 16 ) reports that already in some countries empty pesticide containers are not being properly disposed or are even being used for domestic purposes. Poor management of pesticide stocks could have detrimental effects on several fronts including health, environmental, and economic.

a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: High

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:
Quality at entry was reviewed and assessed by the Quality Assurance Group in 2005 and rated satisfactory (ICR, p. 25). The project was prepared in three months in a time of serious drought and locust invasion (ICR, p. 7). The Bank swiftly responded through an emergency operation to an alarming locust threat in West Africa. The choice of an Emergency Recovery Credit was an appropriate lending instrument given the emergency situation at that time. Design benefitted from the experience of the Emergency Center for Locust Operations and Emergency Prevention System and partnered with the Commission for Desert Locust Control in the Western Region (CLCPRO) in the design process (ICR, p. 4). Design also benefitted from a background analysis that highlighted several distinct and interrelated factors that led to the 2004 crisis (ICR, p.4). The project design relied on existing institutions and maximized donor coordination to ensure an effective and quick start (ICR, p. 25). The project also featured a flexible design that allowed reallocation of funds to priority areas in coordination with other donors, namely FAO. M&E activities had a clear path to defining specific benchmarks, complemented by surveys on longer-term impacts (ICR, 25).

However, project design did not anticipate the limited capacity in some countries to handle pesticide management and disposal of empty containers. Design should have ensured the allocation of sufficient implementation support funds to allow participation of experienced environmental and safeguards specialists from the Bank. Also, M&E lacked relevant indicators to track the impact of the project on agricultural activity and improvement in livelihood.

Quality-at-Entry Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

b. Quality of supervision:
The Bank's efforts successfully integrated the project into the existing regional institutional architecture (ICR, p. 26). Senior Bank, regional, and country management facilitated the speedy processing of the operation to adhere to its emergency nature and maintained support throughout implementation (ICR, p. 26). The Bank maintained good rapport with Commission for Desert Locust Control in the Western Region/Emergency Prevention System (CLCPRO/EMPRES) and according to the ICR (p. 26) conducted many joint supervision missions. The 2009 mid-term review of EMPRES in the Western Africa region highlighted the excellent collaboration and complementarity with the Bank (ICR, p. 26). Biannual supervision missions supported effective implementation and stressed environmental issues and challenges. The missions included a good skill mix that allowed tackling sectoral concerns. The ICR (p. 26) highlights the low turnover of task team leaders (TTL), with the TTL having changed only once. Also, a local TTL closely monitored implementation in each country. The Bank team acted promptly to address any challenges and to speed implementation. Audio/video conferences were used whenever the security situation did not allow regular supervision missions. The Bank team identified two fiduciary irregularities, one each in the Gambia and Burkina Faso, and swiftly brought them to the attention of respective governments and INT.

The purchase of an aircraft for locust control in Niger that was never used during the project, detracts from the Bank's supervision quality. According to the ICR, there was unavailability of funds to operate the aircraft purchased in Niger for locust control until project closure on May 31, 2011 (although its recurrent costs have now been budgeted in the 2011 national budget).

In a subsequent communication, the Region explained that the purchase of the "agricultural aircraft was argued by the Government of Niger to serve the region as a whole in the event of a major locust attack. This was a highly political decision handled at the Senior Management level which approved it on the basis of the commitment taken by the Minister of Agriculture to: (i) cover the operations and maintenance costs, (ii) train the pilots; and (iii) use the aircraft at the sub-regional level. The project team had very little control over this decision."

Quality of Supervision Rating: Satisfactory

Overall Bank Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

a. Government Performance:
The governments of the seven countries participating in the project were generally supportive and committed to the project's activities. According to the ICR, (p. 27) the governments facilitated administrative decisions, created adequate institutions to implement and monitor activities, supported the involvement of a network of national public and private stakeholders, and earmarked funds for locust control. The Governments of Burkina Faso and The Gambia dealt decisively with two fiduciary irregularities, resulting in timely resolution and closure (ICR, p. 27).

However, in Niger the late earmarking of recurrent costs of a locust control aircraft led to incompletion of refresher pilot training, and to failure to purchase spare parts and insurance during the project's life (ICR, p. 27). Also, in The Gambia the restructuring of the Ministry of Agriculture to streamline plant protection into a Service rather than a Department disrupted the coordination of regional locust-control teams as well as the early warning and response system put in place by the project. Counterpart funding was delayed by all participating countries although fully disbursed or exceeded by project closure, except for The Gambia where about 50 percent of counterpart funds were disbursed (ICR, p. 27).

Government Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

b. Implementing Agency Performance:
The project portal states that the implementing agency for Chad, Mali and Senegal was the Ministry of Agriculture in each country; in Niger it was the Ministry of Livestock and Animal Industries; in The Gambia it was the Department of State for Agriculture; in Burkina Faso it was the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulics and Halieutic Resources; and for Mauritania it was the Ministry of Rural Development. The ICR does not provide sufficient information on the implementing agencies, except for Mauritania and Chad. In Mauritania, the cooperation with implementing agency Agence Mauritanienne d‘Exécution des Travaux d‘Intérêt Public pour l‘Emploi did not always result in timely and efficient completion of works. In Chad, implementation of activities was impacted by the low level of commitment among managers and staff of the implementing agency coupled with social and political unrest in the country (ICR, p. 28). There were fiduciary irregularities in Burkina Faso and The Gambia (see Section 11b).

Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

10. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

a. M&E Design:
The PAD (p. 24) listed a number of outcome indicators that would appropriately capture the achievement of the objectives. However, the results framework lacked relevant indicators to track the impact of the project on agricultural activity and improvement in livelihood. A score card was to be developed to evaluate the incremental progress of the seven participating countries performance in meeting standards for an effective early warning and response system (PAD, p. 24). A regional M&E system was to be coordinated by the Commission for Desert Locust Control in the Western Region. In addition, an independent panel composed of people from an international NGO and one Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) institution would be appointed for overall program efficiency and impact assessment at the regional and country levels (PAD, p. 25). This panel was to be funded from other sources rather than from the locust program, to preserve independence.

b. M&E Implementation:
According to the ICR (p. 7), M&E implementation was generally satisfactory. Data were collected and analyzed for all components except for component B (emergency agricultural investments), which lacked baseline data. The emergency nature of the project made it difficult to collect reliable baseline data given that the project was prepared in three months. Also, at the beginning of the project it was difficult to obtain information on affected groups in participating countries (ICR, p. 7). Score cards were used to measure progress of complex systems and institutions towards establishing an early warning and response system for disaster management. The ICR (p. 7) highlights that in Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali, locally based Bank M&E specialists provided technical support to local implementing institutions to enable them to overcome weak capacity and improve M&E activities.

a. M&E Utilization:
According to the ICR (p. 7), M&E data were evaluated and used to inform decision making and resource allocation. M&E benefitted from qualitative beneficiary surveys; however, the lack of baseline data hindered a quantitative assessment of activities under component B, particularly the restoration of productive assets and revenue generated by micro-projects. The use of score cards was helpful in assessing progress towards establishing an early warning and response system for disaster management. The absence of relevant indicators as well as data at baseline and at project completion made it challenging to assess the economic, social and environmental impact of the project .

M&E Quality Rating: Modest

11. Other Issues:

a. Safeguards:
The project was rated Category B and triggered three environmental policies: OP 4.01 on environmental assessment, OP 4.04 on natural habitats, and OP 4.09 on pest management. The PTA emphasized the preparation of pesticide management plans to address the potential risks associated with procurement, storage, and use of large quantities of pesticides and the promotion of alternatives to chemical pesticides (PTA, p. 13). Pest and pesticide management plans (in compliance with BP 4.01 annex C and OP 4.09) and environmental management plans (in compliance with OP 4.01 and 4.04) were prepared by the project for each country. According to the ICR (p. 8), the methodology for safeguard compliance was effective, and particular emphasis was placed on compliance with and implementation of safeguard measures put forth in national pesticide management plans and environmental management plans. Bank field missions verified adherence to sound environmental management practices, and the national QUEST (Quality, Environmental Protection, and Safety of Treatments) teams ensured environmental and health monitoring and quality control of all locust operations (ICR, p. 9). An environmental assessment carried out in 2007 provided a mixed picture for safeguard compliance. On the one hand, the assessment highlighted the improvement in institutional and technical capacity of national locust-control units, high technical and environmental standards in locust management, training of national control teams in the use of biopesticides, and awareness among local communities and the general public about risks associated with poor pesticide management. On the other hand, the assessment identified variations among safeguards measures in terms of quality, resulting in different benchmarks, emphasis on the management of locust invasions rather than on maintaining relevant capacities during recession times, and neglect of basic safeguard measures for the storage of insecticides (ICR, p. 8). The ICR (p. 8) points out that country-specific action plans for improved safeguard compliance were successfully implemented. However, construction of pesticide storage facilities was delayed in Burkina Faso due to difficulties in obtaining land titles. Also, in Senegal infrastructure works were interrupted due to accumulated delays, but eventually a new procurement process was carried out to complete the planned infrastructure. By project completion, compliance with safeguard policies was rated satisfactory in all countries except Senegal (moderately satisfactory) where construction of a buffer zone around the pesticide storage site had not been completed by project closure (ICR, p. 9). The ICR (p. 9) points out that the TTL based in Senegal was closely following the implementation of the action plan related to the buffer zone.

b. Fiduciary Compliance:
Financial management. According to the ICR (p. 9), "Financial management is rated moderately satisfactory." The project had five audit reports, all conducted on time, and financial reports were also prepared and transmitted in timely manner. The ICR (p. 9) highlights two fiduciary irregularities, the first in Burkina Faso, where ineligible expenditures occurred in 2009 and 2010, mainly concerning pre-financing of the counterpart funding, but were subsequently reimbursed; and the second in The Gambia, "where the financial management review, conducted in July 2010, identified ineligible expenditures in the amount of US$48,540 and raised suspicions of fraud regarding training expenditures, which also increased the project‘s financial management risk to substantial. This was reported to the Bank Integrity Unit (INT), which requested that the Government of The Gambia conduct further investigations and take appropriate measures regarding the suspicion of fraud. As a result, the ineligible expenditures were refunded, the government conducted investigations, and remedial measures were put in place. A letter dated October 20, 2011 from The Gambian government declared that the issues had been resolved. This was reported back by the task team to the INT for final closure of the case" (ICR pages 9-10).

Procurement. The ICR (p. 10) pointed out that at project closure procurement was rated satisfactory for all seven countries. Procurement faced challenges because Bank procurement policies were not specifically adapted to the emergency nature of the project. This was resolved when OP 8.00 came into effect by March 2007 (ICR, p. 10). Procurement challenges included laborious national procurement procedures within national directorates of public procurement resulting in long delays before contracting, and deficiencies in the general procurement capacity of the National Coordination Units, especially in procurement planning and monitoring, procurement cycle management, and procurement record keeping (ICR, p. 10). Bank staff provided capacity-building support to NCUs and also brought to the governments' attention the slow process of reviewing procurement documents by the national authorities. This was also pointed out during Country Portfolio Performance Review meetings, which resulted in an improvement of national procurement processing timelines (ICR, p. 10).

c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):
None reported.

d. Other:



12. Ratings:

ICR
IEG Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Outcome:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
 
Risk to Development Outcome:
Negligible to Low
High
Political instability and security concerns present high risks in some of the project countries. 
Bank Performance:
Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
Project design did not anticipate the limited capacity in some countries to handle pesticide management and disposal of empty containers. Design should have ensured the allocation of sufficient implementation support funds to allow participation of experienced environmental and safeguards specialists from the Bank. Also, M&E lacked relevant indicators to track the impact of the project on agricultural activity and improvement in livelihood. The purchase of an aircraft in Niger at a cost of US$1.5 million that was not used during the project's lifetime due to lack of recurrent cost financing also contribute to this rating.  
Borrower Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
 
Quality of ICR:
 
Satisfactory
 
NOTES:
- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- The "Reason for Disagreement/Comments" column could cross-reference other sections of the ICR Review, as appropriate.

13. Lessons:
The ICR (pp. 28-29) provides a number of useful lessons. The following are emphasized with some rearrangement by IEG:
  • Collection of baseline data is important for effective measurement of community-driven development types of interventions. Baseline data are needed to substantiate qualitative data collected through surveys of beneficiary satisfaction. If it is not possible to collect baseline information before the start of the project, extensive efforts should be made to do so early in implementation. If this is impossible because of the absence of national statistics, project restructuring should be used as an opportunity to review the objectives, possibly reducing their scope and selecting quantitatively measurable indicators for which baseline data are available.
  • Regional projects with important environmental and safeguards aspects should be allocated sufficient implementation support funds to allow experienced environmental and safeguards specialists from the Bank to participate in each mission. Given the potential reputational risks associated with projects involving the use of chemicals that can have negative environmental, health, and social impacts, and the ensuing negative externalities at the regional level and costs associated with compensation, it is essential that due diligence of safeguards instruments be closely monitored with adequate budget through Bank staff.
  • To ensure sustainability, appropriate measures should be taken to systematically mainstream pest control, in general, and locust control; in particular, into follow-on Bank-supported agricultural development and natural resource management projects, as well as into crisis preparedness and response components of social protection policies. The Bank, for instance, through the Global Facility of Disaster Reduction and Recovery, should establish close strategic partnerships with the forthcoming second phase of the Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) Western Africa Region project implemented by Commission for Desert Locust Control in the Western Region (CLCPRO), which will provide more sustainability for preventive activities carried out by national teams, and strengthen regional coordination and monitoring activities.

14. Assessment Recommended?

Yes
Why?
To verify the ratings and document lessons learned.

15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR provides thorough and concise coverage of the project's activities and a candid account of shortcomings. Due to reasons outside the control of the ICR team, there were limited qualitative data to substantiate the impact of project activities on agricultural productivity. The ICR provides a number of lessons that reflect the project experience. However, the ICR includes limited information on the implementing agencies in respective client countries, except for Mauritania and Chad. The ICR also does not explain why total project costs and Bank financing were higher than the appraisal estimate and does not include the actual costs for each component (these had to be calculated by IEG).

a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

(ICRR-Rev6INV-Jun-2011)
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