Workshop on Accelerated and Results-focused Project Implementation Ends in Tunis

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Date: 17/03/2010
Location: Tunis, Tunisia

A three-day seminar organized in Tunis by the AfDB on the theme: Accelerated and Results-focused Project Implementations” ended on Wednesday, 17 March 2010. According to seminar organizers, “successful project implementation and results delivery on the ground were central to achieving the Bank’s mission.”  This includes:

  • The beginning of the pilot phase of selected projects in the country from among the least performing in terms of start -off delays;
  • The department’s accompanying measures relating to quality assurance and  control, selected project equipment regarding training, advice and facilitation process;
  • Identifying factors contributing to start-off delays with a view to learning lessons and taking necessary rationalization measures;
  • Evaluating the pilot phase and recommendations with a view to institutionalizing the approach to all Bank operations processes.

Asked about the justification of the AfDB’s initiative to integrate the approach in the Bank’s operations process, AfDB Lead Economists, Mamadou Lamine N’Dongo, said the workshop aimed at familiarizing professional staff with the Rapid Results Approach to project implementation, and the application of the approach to five pilot projects in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Tanzania. This will also enable them have necessary knowledge to deal with their counterparts in these countries.

 “The Bank Group’s portfolio is characterized by long delays, especially with regards to initial disbursements and during project implementation,” he said, explaining that there were delays of three months on average in the signing of project agreements approved in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

The Bank Group has taken important steps to rationalize operational processes within the framework of institutional reforms undertaken in 2006 – reducing  specific conditions, strengthening the review process,  simplifying procurement rules, harmonizing procedures with other donors, increasing supervision regularity and reinforcing its presence on the ground with an enhanced authority delegation regarding portfolio management. Despite these measures, delays still persist as proven by performance regarding recent approvals, and most of these delays are caused by constraints from the borrowing countries, Mr. N’Dongo stressed.

The rapid results approach is a set of management principles which was started some decades ago in the private sector, enabling project teams “to achieve concrete results on the ground, generally within a hundred days.”  This methodology has been in use in the private sector, especially in developing countries for about ten years. It comprises participatory approaches that bring stakeholders together on common priorities and strategic objectives. It starts with the gradual use of short-term results to bring about large-scale organizational changes through capacity building.

Mr. N’Dongo advised that the approach was the new way of working through greater ownership by project teams and empowerment, greater focus on results, greater mobilization of stakeholders and the adoption of rigorous monitoring-evaluation systems and appropriate incentives.  Speaking on the first day of the event, the Results and Quality Assurance Director, Thomas Hurley, underlined the importance of the workshop which is based on the Rapid Results Approach (RRA), noting that successful project implementation and results delivery on the ground were central to achieving the Bank’s mission.