Country Assistance Program Evaluation for Cambodia: Growth and Sector Reform (2009) | Asian Development Bank

Country Assistance Program Evaluation for Cambodia: Growth and Sector Reform (2009)

Evaluation Document | 30 September 2009

This country assistance program evaluation assesses the performance of the country strategies and assistance programs of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Cambodia during 1998-2008.

Cambodia's economy made strong progress in its second decade of recovery from prolonged civil conflict, posting average gross domestic product growth of more than 9% per year during 1999-2008. Per capita gross domestic product in current prices tripled from $256 in 1998 to $794. The private sector, particularly in garments, tourist-related services, and construction, led this robust performance.

As the global economic crisis got underway in 2008, however, the risks of this narrow economic focus became apparent, with garment exports coming under pressure, growth in tourist arrivals turning negative, and construction and foreign direct investment slowing.

This study assesses the performance of ADB country strategies and assistance programs for Cambodia from 1998 to 2008. It expands on the findings and recommendations of the country assistance program evaluation completed in 2004.

After resuming assistance to Cambodia in 1992, ADB had approved a total of $1.3 billion in loans, grants, and technical assistance through to the end of 2008. Assistance in transport infrastructure and agriculture and rural development made up the largest share of assistance. ADB's strategies and programs have evolved with the country's evolution, from relief and rehabilitation to reconstruction and development. Overall, ADB's assistance program to Cambodia was rated successful.

The study recommends, among other things, that ADB assistance promote private sector-led growth and income generation through improved infrastructure services. It recommends a focus on fewer subsectors and that ADB explore other financing modalities to meet Cambodia's evolving development needs.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Background
  • Development Context and Government Priorities
  • Asian Development Bank's Country Strategy and Performance - Top-down Assessment
  • Sector Results and Performance - Bottom-up Assessment
  • Overall Performance Assessment and Rating
  • Finding, Lessons, and Recommendations

Note on IED's Country Evaluations and Validations

Using its 2015 Guidelines for the Preparation of Country Assistance Program Evaluations and Country Partnership Strategy Final Review Validations, the Independent Evaluation Department (IED) intends to provide an objective and informed judgement of the performance and results of country partnership strategies (CPSs), particularly in terms of their relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and development impacts.

In ascertaining relevance, IED considers not only the alignment of the program with country needs and government objectives, but also cross-sector CPS objectives, appropriateness of modalities and sector program designs, and sufficiency of donor coordination.

The effectiveness of a country program in delivering results is also an important aspect of an IED evaluation. Primary focus is on the achievement of the outcomes and outputs of ADB interventions (and the likelihood of achievement if the program is still ongoing), as worded in CPSs and their results frameworks. These include knowledge products and institutional development efforts.

Performance and results are likewise judged from an efficiency perspective, that is, whether the program was delivered in a cost-effective and timely manner, and generated value for money. It also considers the capacity of executing agencies that may contribute to start up and implementation delays, and cost overruns.

Another critical element of IED's evaluation is the likely sustainability of results over the medium term, technically, financially, environmentally, socially, politically, and institutionally. Further, IED looks at how results led to development impacts. Specifically, whether ADB contributed to achieving the CPS objectives, directly through its sector programs and implementing cross-cutting agenda(s) across various modalities in different sectors and by various development partners.

IED gives special importance to cross-cutting objectives by considering how the cross-sectoral and thematic objectives of the CPS are articulated in the results framework and provided with appropriate indicators and targets; and how the program achieved the cross-sector thematic results. Equal weights are given to the achievement of sector and cross-cutting objectives in the relevance and development impact assessments, in both country assistance program evaluations (CAPEs) and CPS final review validations (CPSFRVs). This aligns with ADB's increasing emphasis on achieving corporate strategic priorities.

In preparing its country evaluations and validations, IED conducts document reviews, consults with concerned departments, staff, governments and other stakeholders, and undertakes evaluation missions. IED has put in place a quality assurance system to ensure consistent application of its 2015 guidelines. In CPSFRVs, IED's primary focus is to validate the evidence presented in the CPS Final Review.