Stocktaking of the World Bank’s Global Trade Facilitation Support Program

The Project at A Glance

Trade facilitation plays an important role in a country’s economic development as it enhances competitiveness by reducing time and cost to import and export. The Trade Facilitation Support Program (TFSP), a flagship technical assistance program administered by the World Bank Group (WBG), supports countries in aligning their trade practices and procedures with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

International Economics (IEC) conducted a final stocktaking exercise of the TFSP, spanning five years from July 2018 to June 2023, as a follow-up to a previous mid-term stocktake covering the initial four years of program implementation. The project was funded by the World Bank.

What We Found

The final stocktaking exercise of the Trade Facilitation Support Program (TFSP) had dual purposes: accountability and assessing effectiveness. It evaluates TFSP’s performance, integration of mid-term recommendations, its contribution amid COVID-19 challenges, and identify lessons learned to enhance effectiveness.

The program’s relevance is demonstrated by its assistance to 56 countries by June 2023, aligning with national reform agendas. TFSP collaborates with implementing agencies at the country level to prevent duplication and maintain consistency, and explore potential cooperation for existing projects within the TFSP. Its multifaceted approach contributes to broader objectives including trade facilitation and gender inclusivity. Overall, TFSP interventions have led to meaningful outcomes and impacts at both national and regional levels.

Our Strategy and Impact

The stocktaking exercise involved a theory-based approach and as such, the approach examined the internal logic of the program as articulated in the Theory of Change (TOC), objectives, and indicators. Our team assessed the TFSP against the six OECD-DAC criteria of Relevance, Coherence, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact and Sustainability. The main cross-cutting issues addressed were gender and, to a lesser extent, climate change, under both relevance and effectiveness.

The team has collected information and views from interviews and from other sources, such as documents and data. Views were sought from other organizations working in trade facilitation (e.g., STDF, WTO, WCO, UNCTAD) to gain an external perspective on the Program. The team used findings from the evaluation to present recommendations for ongoing TFSP implementation.

Our Core Solutions

Governments, international donors, and the private sector face many important questions on the expected outputs and impact before, during and after the implementation of their projects. This is where International Economics Consulting’s team of experts, using innovative methodologies to collect and analyse data, can assist you in tracking the economic, social, and environmental aspects of your project.

Applying our analysis and research knowledge, we help our clients maximise efficiency and improve their development objectives. Through the lessons learnt and the feedback mechanisms we implement in our monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) processes, we support institutional strengthening and the re-alignment of resources to ensure the sustainability and maximum impact of projects, helping our clients make well-informed strategic decisions.

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