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Raising Development Impact through Evaluation

Learning Lessons: Electricity Sector

Evaluation Document | 1 July 2011

This edition of Learning Lessons illustrates how lessons from evaluation can augment ongoing efforts for mitigating risks and enhance the development effectiveness of ADB assistance in the electricity sector.

Strategy 2020, ADB's long-term strategic framework, identifies infrastructure development as a core area of operations. Electricity forms a part of those operations. This study reviews the key lessons over the past 10 years drawn from ADB assistance in the electricity and power sector, with inputs coming from more than 60 reports. These include independent evaluations and self-evaluations, mainly from program and project completion reports.

The study aims to heighten recognition of the risks that can reduce development effectiveness in electricity sector interventions that can stem from - among other things - weak institutional frameworks that influence sector performance, corruption in procurement and sector operations, and shortfalls in project planning, monitoring, and evaluation. The study says that risk mitigation based on the experience of ADB and other development partners can provide valuable entry points, but care is needed to tailor practical risk mitigation to specific situations.

Over the review period ADB support for electricity expansion and power sector reforms has increasingly shifted to investments in renewable and clean electricity. The study says that with the increased viability of new and renewable sources of energy, and the option for off-grid, community-based electricity supply, ADB should seek out such projects for financing. But facilitating the wider deployment of renewable electricity technologies will call for promoting incentives to encourage their use, and designing financing packages that share risks and lower costs.


  • Foreword
  • Background
  • Key Lessons and Contextual Sector Risks: The ADB Experience
  • Illustrative Risk Mitigation Measures: A Summary
  • Learning from the Experience of Other Development Partners
  • Conclusions
  • The Way Forward
  • Lessons from the Experience of Other Development Partners in the Electricity Sector
  • Endnotes: Online References
  • References