In one of our factsheets posted on this blog we explain the project cycle, this post will dive deeper into what the Country Assistance Strategy is and what it means for you. The project cycle starts with the formulation of a Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) or Country Partnership Strategy (CPS). This CAS / CPS provides a comprehensive diagnosis of the challenges of project development and identifies the areas the World Bank can have the biggest impact on poverty reduction.
In 2013 a new World Bank Group Corporate Strategy was announced. This lead to the establishment of Global Practices and Cross-Cutting Solution Areas this past July; something we also reported on earlier. After the reorganization the CAS / CPF was replaced by a new strategic country development document, now called the Country Partnership Framework (CPF). From 2015 onwards all strategic country development documents will be created according to the new CPF format.
Like the former CAS / CPS, the CPF provides the reader with borrowing countries development objectives, that it wants to achieve with the help of the World Bank. It also includes a result chain of how these objectives will contribute to the Bank’s twin goals of reducing absolute poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Additionally, the CPF focuses on specific sectors where the Bank plans to identify broader objectives.
The CPF will be based on a Systemic Country Diagnostic (SCD) document, which contains data that provides analysis and grounding for determining the opportunities and constraints in a country. The SCD together with the local government’s national development plan will be used to initiate a discussion about priority areas and where the Bank’s added value could be utilized.
The CPF is drafted by the World Bank country team residing in Washington DC, in cooperation with the regional or country office. Hereafter it must be signed off by the Regional Vice President and the Managing Director and will then be sent to the Bank’s Board of Directors for discussion and approval.
During the process of gathering data for the SCD and drafting the CPF the Bank often consults with the various stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society and possible other institutions like for example the foreign embassies. Although it is not expected that the World Bank actively engages with a lot of companies in the process of drafting a CPF, overall visions of these companies on the potential development of the borrowing countries can be taken in account.
In conclusion, the CPF is a strategic vision document which outlines the Bank’s strategy concerning activities with the borrowing countries. It will identify certain key sectors that are critical for the borrowing country’s development. As the CPF is sometimes subject to stakeholder consultations and external input, it would beneficial for a company to be involved in the process. Either way examining the CPF closely will give the company a good idea of the future direction of the WBG in the country.