Country Program Evaluation: Mexico (2007-2011)
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This country program evaluation (CPE) covers the 2007-2011 period. This evaluation pays particular attention to the relevance of the IDB's program in relation to Mexico's fundamental challenges, as well as to the Bank's strategy developed during the period in an effort to become more relevant in Mexico: work with the private sector, work with subnational governments, and strategic use of technical assistance. The Bank did more business with the country during the period under review than in the previous period, and the downward trend observed at the end of the last period and at the beginning of the present period has reversed. In addition, the Bank has revitalized its role as interlocutor in the social policy dialogue, demonstrating that if the legal hurdles are resolved, it could expand its heretofore limited but important role in strengthening subnational governments. Although the Bank has been losing relevance in relative terms, it continues to provide financial, technical, and operational benefits to Mexico. The country program has been relevant to Mexico's structural challenges and to one of three challenges of the period (the financial crisis), as well as partially relevant to the other two challenges (influenza A H1N1, and rising violence). With regard to the foregoing three areas of the Bank's position, the CPE finds that: (i) although the Bank's volume of business in the private sector has nearly quadrupled compared with the previous period and has had an appreciable countercyclical effect, it has not been possible to clearly identify the criteria used to organize or prioritize work in the sector, or to select the various windows vis-à-vis the Bank's comparative advantage, the country's market conditions, and the applicable strategy documents; (ii) the Bank and the Mexican government, despite major efforts during the period to resolve the legal impediments to working directly with subnational governments, have not yet found an efficient and effective mechanism to support them, as illustrated by the fact that in five years only two operations for US$660 million were approved; and (iii) while the use of technical assistance has been well received and has enabled the Bank to revitalize its role as interlocutor in the social policy dialogue, there is ample room for improving the strategic focus of such assistance. It should be noted that there has been a record high level of approvals and that portfolio efficiency, in terms of preparation and execution times and cost, has improved with respect to the preceding period and to other countries. The program's evaluability has generally improved over the course of the period, but the evaluability of private sector and technical assistance operations is low. The Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE) recommends that the Bank should consider some specific options for enhancing the program's strategic consistency, improving the Bank's work in the private sector, reducing transaction costs to remain competitive as well as to engage more intensively with subnational governments, and enhancing the strategic focus of technical assistance.