ReM TA: a new system for tracking technical assistance results

Reflecting the increasing importance of technical assistance (TA), the EIB introduced a new tool to strengthen results reporting for TA outside the EU. TA results indicators have been developed along similar lines to the Bank’s Results Measurement Framework for lending operations to provide a coherent and consistent picture of whether results are being achieved effectively and efficiently. Expected results are defined at the operation approval stage, with results reassessed at operation completion. The indicators were first piloted in the ACP region, starting in 2015, and rolled out to all outside-EU TA operations in late 2017.

TA aims to assist promoters, national authorities and financial intermediaries to improve set-ups, project identification, assessment methods and financial and risk management. TA is used to support a great variety of projects, including both infrastructure projects and support to local private sector development. It may directly support project preparation and implementation, or occur “upstream” (e.g. assessment of market opportunities).

From 2015 to 2017, 20 TA operations falling under the scope of this new framework were approved, representing EUR 34.95m in grant funding. The majority address TA needs in the ACP region, under the ACP Investment Facility, with two in the Southern Neighbourhood funded under the Global Environment Facility and the Economic Resilience Initiative.

Expected results from 20 technical assistance operations approved in 2015-2017

The nine TA operations supporting project implementation (all related to infrastructure projects) are expected to provide a total of 17 200 consultant-days to Project Implementation Units. In most cases, a new quality project cycle management system will be introduced as well as an improved procurement management process. The project preparation operations consisted of two market studies (financial sector) and one review of the design and bidding documents for an infrastructure project that has already proved to be crucial for the project appraisal process by the EIB. The EIB is expected to lend around EUR 160m to the three projects involved, with EUR 375m to be leveraged from other sources.

In terms of capacity building, the figures for seven TA operations indicate that nearly 48 000 hours of training is to be provided to 14 000 people in priority target groups. In the majority of cases, the knowledge acquired is regarded as directly relevant to a significant degree to beneficiaries’ daily work, with experts expecting the tools and procedures learnt to be used autonomously.

Environmental and social considerations are central to many of the TA operations, notably those covering project preparation and implementation (water and transport sectors). These operations aim to improve the projects’ environmental and social safeguards in accordance with EIB standards or to introduce new environmental and social management systems. A TA operation for a road sector project in Madagascar, for example, is expected to have a significant impact by supporting the implementation of resettlement action plans, an environmental and social management plan, and a road safety awareness campaign. A TA operation in Côte d’Ivoire is expected to make an important contribution in terms of social outreach through improving water access and better management of water facilities in the capital city.

The seven capacity building operations are related to financial sector projects and often have a strong focus on social aspects, including gender. For example, a TA operation supporting financial institutions in the Caribbean aims to establish reliable social performance management and product development systems, which will enable financial institutions to track their outreach to vulnerable groups and women. The Universal Standards for Social Performance Management will be used as guidelines to ensure best practice.