EIF

Executive Summary

 

Purpose and scope

 

The Enhanced Integrated Framework Trade Facilitation Project (TFP) is a USD 3.1 million project , with contributions of USD 2.5 million from the Enhanced Integration Framework  trust fund (TF) and in-kind contributions to the tune of USD 0.6 million from the Government of The Gambia (GoG). The project was approved in December 2012. It follows the EIF TIER 2 implementing modality of ‘Government Implementation’, whereby the overall responsibility and accountability for the management of the project lies with GoG (through the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE), and its National Implementation Unit (NIU)).

 

The EIF was established in 2009 to address the demand from developing countries to target trade bottlenecks, which impede international trade and reduce the competitiveness of developing country exports. In addition to directly benefitting eligible beneficiaries though targeted activities, the EIF was also created to serve as a catalyst for mainstreaming the trade facilitation agenda with the World Trade Organization (WTO), and to identify future trade facilitation projects within the organization.

 

This Independent Evaluation has been commissioned to coincide with the closing of the TFP to provide a comprehensive, systematic and objective assessment of the project that will help inform the TFP National Steering Committee (NSC), the ES, and current and future development partners about the achievements of the project.

 

In line with the Evaluation’s Terms of Reference, this Evaluation Report uses the evaluation criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability to structure the evaluation questions, and provide an assessment of the performance and results of the project.  The assessment will also generate findings, recommendations and lessons useful for on-going and future projects.

 

The Evaluation team will assess the performance from three key vantage points (i) the achievements of the TFP, (ii) project design and governance, and (iii) the usefulness of the monitoring and evaluation system.

 

Methodology

 

We have divided our work for this Evaluation into three streams according to the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders.

 

At the ‘head of the stream’, the project has been analyzed against selected key indicators. Project level documentation has also been reviewed and interviews have been conducted with PMC members who are able to provide insight on the TFP at the project level.

 

The ‘middle stream’ analysis consists of an analysis of the project at the output level. All available output level documentation relating to the project has been reviewed, and this was supplemented with interviews with primary beneficiaries in order to gain an understanding of how beneficiary intermediaries/implementing partners are implementing project activities.

 

The ‘end of the stream’ analysis consists of four output case studies to gain a more detailed understanding of how TFP activities are received by the project secondary beneficiaries. This level of analysis also allowed the Evaluation to validate and triangulate findings from the two other work streams and also to gather evidence for the TFP outputs at the outcome and impact level.

 

The approach provides a well-structured and efficient way of undertaking the Evaluation of the TFP, as the variation of depth of enquiry allows for multiple work streams to work together and validate and triangulate findings. This approach provides a thorough assessment of all outputs in the project.

 

The TFP at a glance

 

The TFP is a Tier 2 project under the EIF for Trade Related Assistance to Least Developed Countries. The project concept stems directly from the Horticulture and Tourism sections of the GoG’s Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) and its Action Matrix. The overall objective “is to increase national participation in international trade by stimulating both the local and national economy and contribute to improved livelihoods in the tourism and horticulture and fisheries export sub-sectors”.

 

The project’s specific purpose is “to improve trade facilitation and increase logistics infrastructure and services at the Banjul International Airport (BIA) through improved institutional arrangements, building human capacity and providing support services to ensure transparent, secured and competitive airport services are available to exporters and small holder businesses to stimulate the tourism, horticulture and fisheries export sub-sectors.”

 

The project intends to “enable BIA meet international safety and security standards in handling cargo and passenger travel, thereby increasing the number of airlines serving and accepting cargo from The Gambia. This increase in the number of airlines serving and accepting cargo will in turn increase the number of visitors to the country and at the same time avail small holder exporters access to competitive new airport infrastructure and services for export. This will contribute to future economic development in general, by stimulating both local and national economy, and to improved livelihoods in the horticulture and fisheries export sub-sectors in particular.”

 

The TFP has four (4) outputs, as identified in the TFP logical framework:

 

Output 1: Enhanced capacity of BIA to handle air cargo by volume and diversity (appropriate storage space for both perishable and nonperishable goods)

 

Output 2: BIA air cargo facilities meet international safety standards

 

Output 3: Increased number of small holder exporters to have access to competitive new airport infrastructure and services for exports

 

Output 4: Improved overall international image of The Gambia, positioning the country as an attractive freight cargo entrepôt in the sub-region

 

Output values range from as little as USD 150,000 to USD 1.67 million.[1]

 

Key conclusions from the Evaluation

 

The key conclusions from the Evaluation are as follows:

 

  • Overall, the Evaluation has found that the TFP has been managed in an adaptive and pragmatic way, which has enabled the NIU to deliver activities which respond well to the needs of the beneficiaries (organizations and individuals), while also ensuring that the project is aligned with the overall objective and design parameters of the TFP. There is clear evidence that the TFP’s objective was, and is still, relevant and valid in The Gambia.

 

  • Overall, stakeholders and beneficiaries are satisfied with the results of the project. Given the ’joint implementation approach” nature of the TFP, there is some divergence in the effectiveness of the activities in the project. Nonetheless, there are positive results stories from across the beneficiaries that show good evidence that the TFP has been successful in delivering activities, which contribute to achieving the overarching objective and purpose of the TFP.

 

  • The Evaluation has also found that the governance and oversight function of the TFP was best tailored towards the delivery of results by the TFP. The delegation of power between the EIF Management Team and the National Implementing Unit (NIU) allowed the NIU flexibility to take in-flight decisions and make quick course-corrections.

 

  • After a slow start, disbursements picked up considerably and as of June 2015, the TFP had disbursed UDD 1.75 million. However, this amount remained only 56% of the project cost, and since activities were still outstanding, the Project had to be extended for one year to end-April 2016.

 

  • The design and governance, especially regarding the joint-implementation of the Project, enhanced the ability of TFP activities to meet beneficiary needs and achieve their objectives. Other enabling and constraining factors cited at the activity level include political economy issues such as lack of access to credit for working capital purposes, and the enforcement of quality standards for fish, fruits and vegetables, and processed and packaged foods.

 

  • The TFP’s composite outputs’ systems for monitoring progress are relatively weak. At the component/activity level, the output, outcome and impact indicators were not set in a clear and consistent manner. Ensuring uniformity in the way information is collected by implementing partners and aggregated by the NIU is critical in the joint implementation approach adopted by the project. This Evaluation has also found that overall, the TFP log frame describes the aims of the TFP, but the “results framework” has not been fully utilized to monitor implementation and report on results in a timely manner.

 

  • There has been little explicit emphasis on reporting of achieved value for money benefits, and there does not appear to be a strong, consistent focus on value for money at the output/activity level. At the same time, however, the Evaluation has found that the TFP has followed standard GPPA procurement practices and has uncovered one example of value for money savings in the project.

 

  • As there are many externalities that will affect the sustainability of the project, and given the timing of this evaluation, we cannot make a robust assessment about the sustainability of outcomes at the project or output level. That said, the Evaluation Team has found encouraging evidence that the NIU has taken pro-active steps to increase the chances of sustainability at the project level, although it has yet to implement the four-step exit strategy.[2]

 

  • The evaluation has found evidence that cross cutting issues have not been satisfactorily addressed at the activity/output, or project level. Given that the overall objective statement of the logframe is linked to stimulation of the local economy and contribution to improved livelihoods in the tourism, horticulture and fisheries export sub-sectors, the TFP governance and management systems should have established baselines and set targets to incorporate these issues more systematically at all levels.

 

The Evaluation team finds that there is a strong case for a successor TFP. At the same time, it will be important for the EIF and GoG to apply the lessons learnt since 2013 and to use the experience to strengthen the value-added of ongoing and future projects in a number of important areas highlighted by this Evaluation.

 

Recommendations

 

The key summary recommendations proposed by the Evaluation Team are as follows:

 

  1. Continue to align projects with beneficiary needs.

 

  1. Use the TFP to strengthen coordination with other export promotion and growth related projects in the areas of horticulture and fisheries within MoTIE and its agencies.

 

2.    Conduct a SWOT analysis of key actors in the value chains for exportable Arts and Crafts, Processed food Items, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, and Fish products and build a database with growth targets set for each intervention area.[3]

 

3.   Earmark a proportion of the next phase TFP (or solicit) funds for continuing to support small holder horticultural farms, fish handlers and SME exporters, and for impact assessment of the project at least 2 years after project completion.

 

4.    Continue to place strong emphasis on integrated approaches and alignment of the TFP with beneficiary needs, policies and strategies to ensure high levels of beneficiary ownership. Formalize and deepen coordination and co-operation between the TFP and other trade facilitation initiatives and actors focusing on strengthening the value chains and using a range of tools (from trade information systems to co-financing).

 

5.    Include a stronger, more consistent focus in the TFP on addressing cross cutting issues such as improved livelihoods (i.e. poverty) and gender. Establish an Advisory Group under the National Steering Committee to champion these cross-cutting issues and ensure more voice for NGOs and women’s organizations on the Steering Committee.

 

  1. Upgrade the TFP’s results framework and evaluation system at Outcome and Impact levels. Enhance TFP output and activity level reporting, establishing the type and level of information development partners require and allocate appropriate resources into collecting these data and using them for more results-focused management.

 

  1. Create an overarching Trade and Competitiveness National results framework, within which the TFP’s results framework can be integrated, in order to improve the evaluation function.

 

The Evaluation Report is structured as follows: Section 1 introduces the rationale and objectives of the Evaluation, and provides some basic statistics about the TFP. Section 2 outlines the framework and interconnecting work streams guiding the evaluation, as well as providing details about the methodology, and the data collection and analysis activities used in the Evaluation. Section 3 outlines the evidence base and discusses the strength of evidence from the various information sources. Section 4 then outlines the findings of the evaluation under the five evaluation criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability, with an additional sub-section on cross cutting issues, evidence from across the data sources are drawn upon throughout this section to substantiate findings. Section 5 sets out the conclusions from the Evaluation around the five Criteria. This is followed by section 6 outlining the recommendations from this Evaluation.

 

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 Rationale and Objectives of the Evaluation

 

The Enhanced Integrated Framework Trade Facilitation Project (TFP) is a USD 3.1 million ”Tier 2” project, managed by the  Enhanced Integration Framework Executive Secretariat (ES) and implemented by the National Implementation Unit at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Employment and Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE). It is financed through contributions from the EIF Trust Fund (TF), to the tune of USD 2.5 million, and the Government of The Gambia (GoG), by way of in-kind contributions in the amount of USD 0.6 million.  

 

EIF Tier 2 projects are aimed at assisting in the implementation of priority projects in the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) and its Action Matrix under the EIF Program (Program). The Program is an Aid for Trade (AfT) initiative that provides a framework linking trade assistance activities, from capacity building training to trade policy and strategy development, within a coherent national development plan.

 

The TFP was approved by the EIF Board in April, 2013 to increase national participation in international trade by stimulating both the local and national economy and contribute to improved livelihoods in the tourism and horticulture and fisheries export sub-sectors

 

Management Consulting and Advisory Services Group was commissioned to carry out an independent final evaluation of the Trade Facilitation Project between April 2016 and June 2016.

 

The TFP was designed to be a two-year project, commencing in April 2013, but was extended to April 2016. In spite of this extension in time, the project remains uncompleted at the time of writing of this report. Therefore, an evaluation at this stage of the project is an important opportunity to draw out lessons learnt, and amplify the future potential impact that the TFP may have in improving the ability of The Gambia to participate in the global trading system.

 

The NIU has produced semi- and annual progress reports to update the EIF ES and members of the National Steering Committee (NSC) and Project Management Committee (PMC) on achievements and progress of the TFP. No Mid-Term Review was conducted. This independent Evaluation of the TFP builds on the existing monitoring and evaluation documentation, and aims to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based, systematic and objective assessment of the TFP. At the same time, the team has collected primary data which it has used to verify and triangulate evidence within the synthesis phase.

 

The primary audience of the Evaluation is the NSC, PMC, UNOPS and EIF ES, but it is also hoped that the Evaluation will provide useful lessons for the wider group of development partners and national stakeholders and institutions.

 

[1] These figures are for direct costs only; also, they do not include the equivalent of the in-kind contributions from GoG.

[2] The four-step Exit Strategy is to be completed by NIU in consultation with project stakeholders before the end of Quarter 3 of the final year of the Project and submitted to PMC and FP, DF, UNOPS TFM and EIF ES for review and comments is outstanding

[3] This is necessary because although the NIU reported that the capacity needs assessment conducted together with consultations with GIEPA had taken care of the ES recommendation of a stakeholder mapping, to include the extent of possible women participation in relevant activities under Outputs 3 and 4, the outputs are unclear. For a properly done exercise would have yielded a gender-disaggregated database that would provide justification for new activities to implement in order to increase utilization of the new air-cargo facility, exportable products and incomes for GIA, male and female Producers and Exporters so that the project benefits are accessible to all stakeholders in the horticulture and fisheries sectors, especially smallholders and women in vulnerable communities.

 

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