- International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
- Published Date:
- October 2005
Production: IMF Multimedia Services Division
Figures: Wendy Arnold
Typesetting: Alicia Etchebarne-Bourdin
IMF technical assistance: evaluation report/[prepared by a team lead by Marcelo Selowsky]—[Washington, D.C.]: International Monetary Fund, Independent Evaluation Office, 2005.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. International Monetary Fund—Evaluation. 2. Technical assistance—Evaluation. I. Selowsky, Marcelo. II. International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office.
Please send orders to:
International Monetary Fund, Publication Services
700 19th Street, N.W, Washington, D.C. 20431, U.S.A.
Tel.: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201
The following symbols have been used in this report:
- between years or months (e.g. 2002-03 or January-June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months;
FY to indicate a fiscal (financial) year. FY2003 is May 2002 to April 2003 and FY2004 is May 2003 to April 2004.
“Billion” means a thousand million.
Some of the documents cited and referenced in this report were not available to the public at the time of publication of this report. However, under the current policy on public access to the IMF’s archives, some of these documents will become available five years after their issuance. They may be referenced as EBS/YY/NN and SM/YY/NN, where EBS and SM indicate the series and YY indicates the year of issue. Certain other documents are to become available ten or twenty years after their issuance, depending on the series. Technical assistance reports referred to in this evaluation report are generally not released to the public.
Technical assistance (TA) is one of the key services provided by the IMF to member countries—particularly lower-income countries. It covers a wide set of activities, ranging from TA to support IMF policy advice to longer-term TA assisting countries’ institutional development.
Over the years many questions have been raised regarding the relevance and effectiveness of TA and how to enhance ownership of its recommendations by the authorities. This evaluation examines these issues and derives recommendations for both management and the Executive Board. It unbundles the TA process into three stages—prioritization, delivery, and monitoring progress and evaluating impact. The methodology involves the use of statistical analysis of a large number of countries as well as in-depth case studies with field work to explore more qualitative issues.
In trying to assess the effectiveness of technical assistance, the study distinguishes between the impact at different stages of the results chain—the immediate improvements in the technical capabilities of agencies receiving TA, the ability of agencies to then apply and enforce that know-how, and, whenever possible, ultimate outcomes on the ground. Attribution of results to TA becomes more difficult the further out the results chain we go. While such assessments inevitably rely heavily upon qualitative judgments, the report draws upon various performance indicators and benchmarks wherever possible.
The report recommends making priority setting of TA more strategic and with heavier involvement of the authorities; stronger participation of the authorities in the design and follow-up of TA to signal and enhance country ownership; deeper efforts to identify and discuss options prior to drafting TA recommendations; and more systematic and rigorous practices to track progress on major TA activities to better identify reasons for shortfalls. Because IMF resources devoted to TA are small relative to global efforts and because of the wide variety of country circumstances in the membership, there are important trade-offs between serving the wide membership and developing a deeper core of expertise within the institution. The evaluation recommends that management and the Executive Board of the IMF examine such trade-offs.
IMF Technical Assistance
This evaluation report was prepared by a team headed by Marcelo Selowsky and including Jeffrey Allen Chelsky, Mariano Cortés, and Emilio Pineda, and was approved by David Goldsbrough, Acting Director of the Independent Evaluation Office. Chapters of the report benefited from inputs from Isabelle Mateos y Lago and Daouda Sembene. Research assistance from Patricia Yang-Yang Chen, administrative support by Arun Bhatnagar, Annette Canizares, and Maria S. Gutierrez, and editorial assistance from Esha Ray are gratefully acknowledged.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
African Department (IMF)
Economic and Statistical Observatory for Sub-Saharan Africa
Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center
Anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism
Asia and Pacific Department (IMF)
Annual progress report
Budget Reporting System
Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre
Direct plus allocated cost
Data Quality Assessment Framework
Extended Fund Facility (IMF)
European I Department (IMF)
European II Department (IMF)
European Department (IMF)
Fiscal Affairs Department (IMF)
Financial Sector Assessment Program
General Data Dissemination Standard
Gross domestic product
Gross national income
General sales tax
Heavily Indebted Poor Country
Independent Evaluation Office
International Monetary Fund
Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Legal Department (IMF)
Long-term resident expert
Monetary and Exchange Affairs Department (IMF)
MAE/MFD Technical Assistance Tracking System
Middle East and Central Asia Department (IMF)
Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cambodia
Monetary and Financial Systems Department (IMF)
National Bank of Cambodia
National Institute of Statistics of Cambodia
Operations Evaluation Department (World Bank)
Offshore financial center
Office of Internal Audit and Inspection (IMF)
Office of Technical Assistance Management (IMF)
Public expenditure management
Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre
Project Monitoring System
Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Resource Allocation Plan
Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes
Regional technical assistance center
Statistics Department (IMF)
Technical Assistance Information and Management System
Technical assistance consultation
Technical Cooperation Action Plan
Travel Information Management System
Terms of reference
Treasury Single Account
Use of Fund resources
United Nations Development Program
Western Hemisphere Department (IMF)