Challenges and Opportunities forCapacity Development in AfghanistanAnd Possible Implications for WBI(Draft) Presentation at WBI Consultation on Capacity Development in Fragile States Washington, DC, 16 July 2009 William Byrd* Economic Adviser Fragile and Conflict Affected Countries Group Operations Policy and Country Services * The views, findings, interpretations and conclusions presented are those of the author and should not be attributed in any manner to the World Bank or to its Executive Board of Directors or the Governments they represent.
A History of Failure in TA forCapacity Development “Almost everybody acknowledges the ineffectiveness of technical cooperation in what is or should be its main objective: achievement of greater self-reliance in the recipient countries by building institutions and strengthening local capacities… Despite 30 years of a heavy technical assistance presence and much training, local institutions remain weak and this type of assistance persists.” Elliot Berg, Rethinking Technical Cooperation: Reforms for Capacity Building in Africa (UNDP, 1993, p. 244)
Afghanistan is No Exception to theHistorical Pattern of Failure • Enormous amounts spent on Technical Cooperation, c. $400-500m p.a. or more • Unclear results, limited monitoring and accountability, little lasting impact in many ministries • Highly fragmented, often donor-driven • Mixed record of Public Administration Reform, currently problems with P & G • Donor “top-ups” out of control, “second civil service” issues
Paths to Success in Afghanistan • Strong ministry leadership, building small but effective Afghan management team • Program design / Process design • Buying in capacity for core processes, program management and oversight • (Often) contracting out service delivery, use of NGOs as facilitating partners • Indigenization of core ministry activities over time, typically through relatively high-paid contracts for Afghans (not regular civil service)
Current Issues • Typically centralized approach, less focus on development of line ministries and sub-national government capacity • Sustainability issues • Integrating “temporary” capacity into civil service & with Public Admin Reform • Problems flagged earlier continue (waste, fragmentation, top-ups, 2nd civil service) • Problems with center of government (Cabinet, President’s office) processes and decision-making
Possible Entry Points for WBI • Selectivity and targeting (by country, intervention) • Quality and relevance critical for success • Context specificity • Critical mass of effort