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Analysing of impact measurement and project assessment tools

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Judith Zimmermann

GIZ’s 'Multilateral Development Banks and Global Public Goods’ programme provides advisory services to the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on the intersection of institutional reforms and specific development topics.

As part of this, OPM was commissioned to undertake a comparative analysis of Development Finance Institutions’ (DFI’s) impact measurement and project assessment tools. The analysis provides an overview of various development impact measurements and project assessment tools for private sector investees used by the major investors. The aim is to understand how different institutions estimate development impact, and how this informs development decision.

The Challenge

Private sector development is an important building block of the global development agenda. The Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) committed to “promoting and catalysing private investment for development” as part of their overarching commitment to contribute to reaching “from billions to trillions” in development finance.

This increased focus on private sector operations also calls for the need to ensure better quality evaluations throughout the project cycle. Impact Measurement and Project Assessment Tools, in particular ex-ante assessments, can play a crucial role in allowing International Financial Institutions (IFI) and Development Finance Institutions (DFI) to develop their portfolios strategically while balancing development outcomes and financial returns. Ex-ante assessments also potentially inform the derisking approach, necessary for efficiently using blended finance.

Our Approach

The OPM research team identified ‘best practice’ and generated specific and practical recommendations on how to improve development impact tools of leading DFIs as well as private organisations.

The study was based on a literature review of primary and secondary documentation and stakeholder interviews. It was clustered around four key questions:

  1. What are the dimensions of impact that the tool measures; how does the tool make trade-offs among the different dimensions of impact?
  2. What data does the tool rely upon and how is this gathered and synthesised?
  3. How is the tool used, and by whom, to inform investment decisions?
  4. How is the impact assessment tool integrated into the broader organisation?

Outcomes and wider impacts

The OPM team developed a comprehensive report on the topic, as well as a presentation for dissemination of the results to key stakeholders. We have also been asked to present the findings on best practices and recommendations to the individual DFIs in January 2021.