The World Bank (WB) commissioned SEO Amsterdam Economics to conduct a mid-term evaluation (MTE) of its Global Tax Program (GTP). Established by the WB in June 2018, the GTP is a multi-donor trust fund programme that aims to strengthen tax systems in developing countries through the provision of capacity development (CD).

The main purpose of this MTE was to distil lessons learned from the first few years of implementation (2018-2022) and provide recommendations for the next phase. SEO carried out the MTE between October 2021 and November 2022.

Key findings
The evaluation team concluded that the GTP is a well-managed programme and has thus far performed well against the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria, despite operational challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Relevance: GTP-supported projects were well aligned with the needs and priorities of recipient countries. Moreover, the GTP also responded well to emerging issues such as COVID-19, climate change and gender inequality.
  • Coherence: The GTP secretariat actively monitored related activities by other WB teams and development partners (DPs) to ensure internal and external coherence. Although overlap and conflicting policy advice with other DPs was usually avoided, there was room to further increase complementarities and strengthen synergies.
  • Effectiveness: Most GTP-supported projects were effective in meeting their output and short-term outcome targets. However, longer-term outcomes were difficult to assess as most projects were still ongoing and the GTP results framework did not include longer-term indicators.
  • Sustainability: The WB’s strong country presence and its ability to provide additional funding through concessional lending operations bode well for ensuring the sustainability of results achieved thus far. However, common risks to sustainability included the high staff turnover within local authorities, their often limited absorption capacity, political instability, and the fact that the GTP results framework did not (yet) include long-term outcomes.
  • Efficiency: The GTP generally managed its projects efficiently and in a timely manner. Although operational efficiency could be further improved, the evaluation team did not find evidence of any major issues regarding cost-effectiveness.

SEO evaluated the GTP according to the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria, looking at both the programme and project level. At both levels, the evaluation team triangulated a mix of quantitative and qualitative information sources in order to arrive at an overall assessment:

  • GTP-wide assessment:
    • Analysis of the available M&E data for the entire portfolio.
    • Extensive desk research and in-depth interviews with programme level stakeholders (including WB staff and representatives of other DPs).
    • Large survey among a wide variety of stakeholders (including recipients, WB staff and GTP funding partners).
  • Project-level assessment:
    • In-depth case studies, covering nine individual GTP-supported projects.