Assessing development effectiveness: 2017 Annual Report highlights IDEV’s contribution to the Bank’s delivery on the High 5s


Assessing development effectiveness: 2017 Annual Report highlights IDEV’s contribution to the Bank’s delivery on the High 5s

Assessing development effectiveness: 2017 Annual Report highlights IDEV’s contribution to the Bank’s delivery on the High 5s
Photo credit: UN

Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) presented its 2017 Annual Report to the African Development Bank Group Committee on Operations and Development Effectiveness on 16 July 2018.

The report is an important indicator of how well the Bank has met its operational priorities like the High 5s, improved its programmes, policies and institutional effectiveness.

The report highlights key findings, lessons learned and recommendations drawn from eight evaluations, one comparative study and two knowledge events on private sector development completed by IDEV in 2017. It also describes some of the key challenges faced by IDEV and its strategic priorities and plans for 2018, notably in the area of learning and partnerships.

“Overall, IDEV’s 2017 evaluations found that the effectiveness of Bank-funded operations is satisfactory. Frequently observed weaknesses were in the areas of sustainability, efficiency and inclusiveness,” said Rakesh Nangia, Evaluator General at the Bank.

“Continuous investment and promoting learning at institutional level will be key to generating knowledge that can further boost development impact and improve corporate performance,” he added.

IDEV is an independent unit tasked with enhancing the development effectiveness of the Bank’s operations. By conducting independent evaluations and proactively sharing best practice, IDEV ensure that the Bank and its stakeholders learn from experience and plan and deliver development activities to the highest possible standards.

All its evaluations are publicly available on the IDEV website at


In pursuit of economic and social progress, African countries are implementing multiple agendas including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063. They are prioritizing structural transformation in their national, regional and continental development programs to promote employment through agriculture and industrialization; to enable access to clean and affordable energy and water; to diversify sources of food; and to promote inclusive growth and equality for a better life for all Africans. To contribute to this transformation, the African Development Bank (AfDB or the Bank) embarked on a new development strategy featuring five priority areas referred to as the High 5s: Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Integrate Africa; Industrialize Africa; and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.

This ambitious African transformation agenda cannot be achieved without effective monitoring and evaluation. To get to its expected development results, the AfDB needs to improve its understanding of how its investments create economic, social and environmental value for the African continent. IDEV’s independent evaluations can help with this, by examining what has worked, what has not, and why. Assessing the development impact of an institution such as the AfDB, however, is complex, multi-layered and difficult to measure. This is because the development results of the Bank cannot simply be measured by return on investment or profit. They must include the much harder-to-measure development outcomes (results) of the programs, projects, policy dialogue, knowledge work, capacity building and trainings implemented by the Bank.

To improve learning and enhance the development results of the Bank, IDEV undertakes different types of evaluations, both in the areas of the High 5s and beyond, covering all aspects of the Bank’s work as well as its functioning as an institution. It disseminates the knowledge from these evaluations in various ways, and helps to strengthen evaluation capacity both in the Bank and on the continent.

This IDEV Annual Report focuses on its work in 2017, particularly the key messages and recommendations from IDEV 2017 evaluations, and how this work helps the Bank to improve its operational and institutional effectiveness. The theme, “Getting to Results,” reflects IDEV’s commitment to strengthen the institution’s evaluative learning through knowledge that is timely, useful, and adapted to the Bank’s development agenda.

Evidence for better strategies, programs and processes at the African Development Bank

In 2017, IDEV evaluation products and knowledge work provided evidence to help inform various Bank strategies, programs and processes. Notably, IDEV evaluations of the Bank’s country strategy and program in Côte d’Ivoire (2006-2016) and in Nigeria (2004-2016) as well as the evaluation of the Bank’s Human Resources Management System and the comparative study of Board Processes, Procedures and Practices across International Financial Institutions.

Developing Evaluation Capacity and building partnerships for improved performance

Stronger capacity leads to stronger results. IDEV supported capacity development in the area of evaluation, both within the Bank and in its RMCs. Under its Evaluation Capacity Development program, IDEV provided a number of trainings for its staff. It also launched a webinar series on evaluation topics for the evaluation community within and outside the Bank.

To strengthen capacity in RMCs, IDEV supported the following initiatives:

  • the African Parliamentarians’ Network on Development Evaluation, of which IDEV hosts the Secretariat, aims to promote the use of evaluation in policy- and decision-making;

  • the Strengthening National Evaluation Systems initiative, under which IDEV works with the governments of Ethiopia and Tanzania to enhance monitoring and evaluation in those countries;

  • the Evaluation Platform for Regional African Development Institutions, which brings together the evaluation departments of sub-regional development banks on the continent;

  • the Twende Mbele initiative, a South-South peer-learning partnership to build monitoring and evaluation systems for stronger government performance and accountability to African citizens.