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Mr. Adrian Alter, Elizabeth M. Mahoney, and Cristian Badarinza
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
This technical assistance mission collaborated with the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics in Peru to incorporate big data methods into compilation of the consumer price index (CPI). This includes both prices ingested from the websites of large retailers and data recorded through in-store checkout scanners.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

Capacity development (CD) is a key function of the IMF, aiming to assist its member countries develop their institutional and human capacity to design and implement sound macroeconomic and financial policies. CD has been provided to all IMF member countries at some point, although it is directed mainly toward low- and middle-income countries. CD represents about one-third of the IMF’s administrative budget, having expanded substantially in the past decade. This evaluation assesses how effective the IMF has been in meeting the CD needs and expectations of recipient countries, and the Fund’s institutional objectives for CD, during 2012-20. It also provides an initial review of how IMF CD adapted to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The evaluation finds that IMF CD was relevant, valued, and broadly effective. Recipients, donors, and the wider membership saw IMF CD as being of the highest technical quality in the Fund’s core areas of expertise and generally perceived that it had become better tailored to recipient needs and circumstances. Overall, Fund CD has supported member countries in building the institutional capacity, in a very wide range of country circumstances. The IMF has also put substantial effort into integrating CD with surveillance and programs, which has in general enhanced its overall engagement with member countries. While recognizing these achievements, the evaluation also identifies a number of important shortcomings and challenges. The evaluation includes recommendations to enhance the strategic framework for, and prioritization of, CD; information available to Executive Directors and opportunities to exercise their oversight role; the integration of CD with surveillance and programs, particularly in the context of programs; CD ownership and delivery; the monitoring and evaluation framework; the sustainability of the CD funding model; and HR policies and incentives to maintain and develop the expertise in the Fund’s core and newly emerging CD topics.

Yasmin Alem and Jacinta Bernadette Shirakawa
Based on internal data, this paper finds that the capacity development program of the IMF’s Statistics Department has prioritized technical assistance and training to fragile and conflict-affected states. These interventions have yielded only slightly weaker results in fragile states than in other states. However, capacity development is constantly needed to make up for the dissipation of progress resulting from insufficient resources that fragile and conflict-affected states allocate to the statistical function, inadequate inter-agency coordination, and the pervasive impact of shocks exogenous to the statistical system. Greater coordination with other capacity development providers and within the IMF can help partially overcome low absorptive capacity in fragile states. Statistical capacity development is more effective when it is tailored to countries’ level of fragility.