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Introduction to the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS)

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1 Introduction to the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS)

2 What is a Country Assistance Strategy (CAS)?  A development framework for the World Bank's assistance in client countries. The CAS document:  describes the WB Group's strategy in a given country based on an assessment of country priorities.  indicates the level and types of assistance to be provided based on the strategy and the country's portfolio performance.

3 Time-span of a CAS  The CAS normally provides a three-year focus for World Bank Group activities.  CASs for larger countries are revised more frequently, sometimes annually.

4 Why a CAS?  To identify the key areas where the World Bank has a comparative advantage and where its assistance can have the largest impact on poverty reduction.  To set the level and composition of financial and technical assistance that the World Bank seeks to provide to the client country.

5 Country’s Involvement in the CAS (I)  A CAS is prepared after broad agreement is reached with the country on country owned poverty reduction strategies.  Its key elements are discussed with the Government prior to the World Bank Board’s consideration.

6 Country’s Involvement in the CAS (II)  The CAS is a participatory process: the CAS is developed in consultation with country authorities, civil society organizations, development partners, and other stakeholders.  However, the CAS is not a negotiated document. Differences between the country’s own agenda and the strategy advocated by the World Bank are highlighted in the CAS documents.

7 CAS and PRSP  A Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) is a country-owned document which describes the country’s own development agenda.  The CAS reflects the PRSP priorities and describes the World Bank Group’s assistance to this strategy.

8 Features of a good CAS (I)  Client Focus: A CAS is grounded in the country’s political, economic, and social context. However, it acknowledges differences between the WB and the authorities.  Poverty Focus: It includes a comprehensive diagnosis of development challenges including incidence, trends and causes of poverty.

9 Features of a good CAS (II)  Governance and Institutions: A CAS diagnoses governance/corruption and institutional effectiveness and seeks to address weaknesses in these areas.  Risks. A CAS thoroughly examines risks to the country (economic/financial, political, social and environmental) and to the WB. When appropriate it proposes risk mitigation measures.

10 Features of a Good CAS (III)  Collaboration within the WB Group. A CAS calls for a consistent overall WBG strategy (IBRD/IDA, IFC, MIGA, ICSID).  Comparative Advantage and Role of the Bank. A CAS includes a division of labor with external partners (IMF, Regional Development Banks, bilateral agencies, private sector, NGOs, etc.) in line with the WB’s comparative advantage and that of its partners in supporting the client country.

11 Features of a Good CAS (IV) Last, but not least…  Self-evaluation and lessons from experience. A CAS should include a frank discussion on the WB’s “lessons learnt” and a transparent portfolio analysis.

12 Public Information on CAS  In 1998, the WB Board of Executive Directors approved a new policy allowing public disclosure of CAS reports.  CAS reports and summaries are available on the World Bank website:

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