The series consists of Country Assistance Reviews (CARs), Country Assistance Notes (CANs), Country Assistance Evaluations (CAEs), and related records created by the OED. Country Assistance Reviews (CARs) were launched in 1994 when they were endorsed by the Joint Audit Committee (JAC) Subcommittee on OED Reports. OED's first CAR focused on Ghana and was completed late in FY 95. The CARs were, in essence, countrywide impact evaluations that concentrated on the overall impact and development effectiveness of the Bank's whole program of assistance (for both lending and non-lending activities) to a country over a number of years, usually a decade. They evaluated the Bank's overall assistance program to a country in the same way that performance audits evaluated individual projects. CARs processing schedules were eventually timed and designed so as to be useful inputs into the preparatory work for the corresponding Country Assistance Strategy by both Bank staff and government officials and to provide the ExecutiveBoard with an up-to-date, independent evaluation of past results of Bank assistance one to three months in advance of the scheduled CAS consideration.
Country Assistance Notes (CANs) were introduced in 1997 as a way to speed the process of country assistance evaluations. CANs were meant to be mini-CARs and thus were more limited in the scope and/or time frame covered. For example, CARs covered all relevant sectors of a country, whereas the CANs were more selective. The rationale for introducing the CANs was to achieve greater coverage of countries in the short term. After the introduction of CANs, CARs were limited to the largest borrowers, in total or per capita, or to outliers in terms of performance and GDP per capita. CANs were produced for countries undergoing a second evaluation and for which a CAR had previously been produced. The length of both the CARs and CANs changed over time. The first CARs were typically about 100 pages; later CARs were limited to 15 to 30 pages of main report. The CANs were shortened to 5 to 15 pages. As time went by, OED softened the distinction between CARs and CANs and by the late 1990s, the country-wide evaluations were simply referred to as Country Assistance Evaluations (CAEs), but OED did generate mini CAEs that were the equivalent of CANs.
CARs, CANs, and CAEs were based largely on a review of OED and Bank Reports available in Washington: Staff Appraisal Reports; Performance Audit and Implementation Completion Reports; Country Assistance Program/Strategy Papers; Country Briefs; Country Economic Memoranda; sector reports; Country Risk Assessments; management briefs for the Annual Meetings and for high-level field visits; and project and general country files. They also relied on direct interviews with key current and former government officials, other relevant national and/or association representatives, donor representatives, and current and former Bank staff members. CANs did not usually involve an OED mission to the client country and personal contact with other donors, whereas CARs may have involved more than one mission and increasingly included evaluation participants from other donor agencies. CARs, CANs, and CAEs were all prepared in close consultation with the Regional operational staff.
The content of the files for the country assistance evaluations varies somewhat but the more complete files contain: copies of the previous OED and Bank studies and reports for the country; Terms of Reference for the OED staff members and/or consultants assigned to the project team; drafts of the Approach Paper and Study Design Paper; memoranda and correspondence regarding the team's travel plans if a mission to the client country was required; a Back-to-Office Report regarding the mission; intra-OED correspondence regarding the format for the evaluation; various drafts of the evaluation; minutes of One-Stop Review Meetings at which the top OED managers evaluated progress on or reviewed a draft of the evaluation; comments on the drafts from OED and Regional staff, officials in the client country, and representatives from other aid/lending organization; drafts of the DGO's comments to CODE regarding the evaluation; minutes of CODE meetings at which the evaluation was discussed; drafts of the DGO's transmittal memorandum to the Executive Directors and the President; summaries of the Executive Directors' discussion of the report and copies of the chairman's published comments; drafts of the management response to the evaluation; a draft of the OED Fast Track Brief and Precis regarding the evaluation; the final, published (grey cover) evaluation; and letters transmitting the final, published evaluation to officials in the client country. A few files also contain questionnaires completed by stakeholders, paper copies made from computer-assisted presentations, and copies of records used in workshops held for various stakeholders.
All of the country assistance evaluations in this series were generated by the OED's Country Evaluation and Regional Relations Division/Group (OEDCR) and its predecessor, the Country Policy, Industry and Finance Division (OEDD2). The series contains reports and related working files for many countries, including: the Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Paraguay, El Salvador, Brazil, Peru, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Chile, Guinea, Niger, Eritrea, Zambia, Lesotho, Jordan, Mongolia, India, Zambia, Yemen, Tunisia, Nepal, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Malawi, Kenya, Thailand, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Uruguay, Croatia, Uganda, Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire, Cambodia, Mozambique, West Bank and Gaza, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Ecuador, Tanzania, India, Poland, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Maldives, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Morocco, Mexico, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Tgo, Ukraine, Brazil, Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Nepal, China, and Turkey. Of special note in this series is the extensive documentation for the CAR for India completed by a team headed by Gianni Zanini and issued in 2001. In addition to the usual documentation generatedfor a country assistance evaluation, the files for the India CAR include an extensive collection of Bank reports on India, materials from workshops organized by OED and the South Asia Region from March to May 2000, and twenty or more background papers prepared by OED staff and consultants. Also of note are the voluminous files for the Russian Federation CAR which, in addition to the usual CAE records, include schedules and briefing papers for President Wolfensohn's visits to Moscow in May 1998 and February2000.