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The World Bank’s new Program for Results (PforR) instrument is only the third financing instrument approved since 1944. The PforR portfolio is expanding rapidly and represents an appreciable part of “results-based” development finance. This paper analyzes the first 35 operations. They account for $8.1 billion in commitments and are leveraged into programs that total $46.7 billion. The results frameworks and monitoring processes of the operations are therefore extended across a wider canvas.
The paper analyzes the relative weight of “results” and institution-building using a methodology based on the different types of Disbursement-Linked-Indicators (DLIs). It also considers how the projects manage performance risk by distributing disbursements across DLIs of different types. The projects vary greatly in these and other dimensions, suggesting that the portfolio offers a laboratory for the future although it is too early to come to conclusions on implementation. A further 22 operations are in the pipeline.
Unlike most other results-based initiatives, PforR loans offer no financing additionality. Client countries can still avail themselves of traditional investment or policy loans. This raises the question of why a particular country might choose to take a PforR loan (with its attendant disbursement risk) rather than either of the traditional options. The paper considers this question and the implications for the future role of the MDBs as their clients transition from LICs to MICs and their funding becomes a smaller share of overall development finance. It suggests a monitoring role related to the effectiveness of resource management that is not too dissimilar to the role played by private creditors in corporate governance. It notes that this might appeal to certain clients, and to certain interests within client countries, more than others.