International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
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.
Considerable macroeconomic gains were achieved in 2021: the economic rebound was stronger than envisaged, driven by the non-extractive sector; CPI inflation declined to 5.3 percent year-on-year, accompanied by a stable exchange rate as the central bank stopped providing financing to the government; and an improved external position supported reserves accumulation. The 2021 fiscal outturn was also better-than-projected although domestic arrears accumulated. Despite excess liquidity, the banking sector faces vulnerabilities. The war in Ukraine is pushing up the cost of living and rising the fiscal costs associated with the fuel subsidy. Despite this and deteriorating global economic prospects, the outlook remains favorable and provides opportunities to consolidate macro stability and scale up structural reforms, though significant downside risks remain, and severe fragility persists.
This paper proposes a comprehensive Strategy to strengthen IMF support to FCS in accordance with the Fund’s mandate and comparative advantage. The Strategy is a response to the Board-endorsed recommendations of the 2018 Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) Report on The IMF and Fragile States. To achieve these goals, the Strategy will benefit from additional resources reflected in the FY23-25 Medium-Term Budget, as per the budget augmentation framework discussed by the Board in December 2021. The Strategy also provides measures to better support staff working on FCS. Given the inherent risks in FCS engagement, the Strategy will be phased in starting in FY22, with implementation gradually accelerating between FY23-FY25.