strengthening the analytical base on core fiduciary issues i s a centfal focus o f the Bank’s work. Moreover, the Bank i s working in close collaboration with other development partners to ensure that they also move at the same pace towards programmatic support; and
c) the Bank shouldplay a catalyzing role to increase beneficiary participation and make them more accountable. Inthe context o f all operations, the Bank has ensured that beneficiaries and local partners take on an increasingly important role inthe design and implementation o f development programs. The success o f the PAIB project which i s beingimplementedby local community groups andNGOs i s a good example o f the effectiveness o f involving beneficiaries. The Bank i s also providing support through its social sector and rural operations to strengthencapacity at local levels and to ensure a more decentralized service delivery.
The quality o f the portfolio, which currently includes ten investmentprojects and one
adjustment project, declined from FY98 to FY02, as evidenced by the rise o f at-risk projects and overall slow implementation. There i s an issue o f absorptive capacity inMali, as in many IDA countries, with the disbursementrate dropping from 20% inFY98-00to 15% in FYO1-02. The reasons for these weaknesses stem from: (iinadequate institutional frameworks; (iislow procurement; (iiiweak financial management; (iv) cumbersome donor procedures; and (v) poor GoM implementation capacity.
At the start o f FY03, the Bank worked with the G o M to prepare a Portfolio
Improvement Program (PIP), which outlined a full action plan to strengthenthe performance
f IDA’Sprojects, and a Country Portfolio Performance Review (CPPR) was heldinJanuary
2003 (see para. 52 below). Since then, strong corrective actions have beentaken and the three identified problem projects are now rated satisfactory. While slow disbursementand weak management s t i l l hamper some other projects inthe portfolio, and the PIP i s being updated to tackle these issues, the disbursementratio increased to 17.6% inFY03. As o f July 1,2003, there are ten projects inthe portfolio (see Attachment 5)5, down from fifteen in FYOl,which will allow efforts to be concentrated on strengthening the performance o f those projects still under implementation.
The Improving Learning in Primary Schools LILProject closed on June 30,2003.