MTE: Implementation of the Local Economic Development (LED) Project

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Botswana
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
07/2018
Completion Date:
03/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
50,000

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Title MTE: Implementation of the Local Economic Development (LED) Project
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Botswana
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2019
Planned End Date: 07/2018
Management Response: No
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty and MDG
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.1. National and sub-national systems and institutions enabled to achieve structural transformation of productive capacities that are sustainable and employment - and livelihoods- intensive
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding: Project
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
John Ogwang Evaluator jogwang1@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry, Private Sector
Countries: BOTSWANA
Lessons
Findings
1.

4. Evaluation Findings on LED Project Implementation and Performance

4.1 The LED pilot phase design and relevance

A two track LED implementation approach was pursued. Track one covering all 16 local governments (rural and urban districts) in the country, involved developing LED facilitating policy and implementation framework, as well as building capacities of local authorities, and establishing systems and institutional structures that enable planning and implementing LED at both national and local levels. Track two specifically focused at piloting the LED project in four (4) of the country’s sixteen (16) Local Authorities. The four pilot local authorities included the two rural Districts of; Chobe and Kgalagadi, and the two urban districts of Sowa Town and Francistown. The pilot phase was meant to help in understanding LED planning and implementation, draw lessons and determine how best the pilot can be up-scaled and rolled out to all local authorities in the country. 

LED PROJECT RELEVANCE TO NATIONAL AND LOCAL PRIORITIES

As depicted in figures 4.1 and 4.2 below, which show stakeholder responses to inquiries about relevance of LED design to their needs and national priorities, there was unanimity in all respondents at national and local levels (including control districts) that the design of LED approach conforms to the National and Local long-term development plans, including the NDPs, DDPs, and UDPs, Vision 2016 and 2036, as well as some key indicators and targets in the international MDGs and SDGs. Vision 2036 and NDP11 now incorporate LED principles.Figure 4-1: The two comparison categories of LED Validity, Appropriateness & Conformity; Figure 4-2: Responses on LED validity, appropriateness & conformity to needs & priorities

Comparison of responses from pilot districts and non-pilot district to a combination of LED goal validity, appropriateness & conformity to needs & priorities is depicted in figure 4.2 above. Some scepticism still exists among non-pilot district stakeholders whether the goals of LED conform to and address their development needs and priorities. The numbers of stakeholders who are already convinced that LED addresses their needs and priorities were greater in pilot districts at a combined total of 69% from those indicating that LED highly conforms and jus conforms.


Tag: Relevance Local Governance Policies & Procedures Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Country Government Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction SDG Integration

2.

4.1 The LED pilot phase design and relevance (continuation)

LED FRAMEWORK DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSES

A technical advisor placed in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, supported Government at central and local levels with capacity building interventions, and facilitated development and implementation of the LED framework. The lessons and experiences generated from piloting of LED in 4 districts were meant to inform development of the Framework. However, the review of the LED project documents indicated that the development of the Framework ran concurrently with piloting LED in 4 districts, and the LED framework development was completed and approved in 2016. There is no evidence that the pilot phase significantly informed development of LED framework. By the time the framework was developed, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and BALA in consultation with different stakeholders who included the 4 pilot districts, different line Ministries and their departments with technical support of both UNDP and CLGF had completed development of the guidelines for integrating LED in local governments in Botswana. These guidelines provided guidance to local governments to integrate LED and mainstream the LED function into structures and work process, and to plan and manage LED as a process. The LED Framework development experience only partially informed the content of the pillar on LED governance in the Framework. The framework draws significantly from international experience, and national and local planning process. Key stages taken to develop the LED framework included: (1) Development of LED concept note; (2) Development of LED discussion paper; (3) Development of LED framework and action plan, and; (4) Rolling out the LED framework action plan for implementation. All stages involved iterative consultative sessions to ensure shared understanding. This meant that the process, especially the approval process took slightly longer to complete. The LED framework put in place a national policy direction and institutional environment that enabled local area stakeholders led by the trained Local Authorities (LAs) to identify their needs; understand their resource endowments; and seek joint action to diversify and grow their economies. 


Tag: Relevance Local Governance Country Government Private Sector Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Poverty Reduction

3.

4.1 The LED pilot phase design and relevance (continuation)

KEY LESSONS

A detailed guiding and prescriptive LED framework is a pre-requisite for any LED start-up. This Framework needs sufficient period for communication and roll-out, even prior to its implementation. Success of LED largely depends on public, business and NGO partnerships, with Government acting mainly as a facilitator. This partnership needs to be complete and continuous all along the LED processes. Once ownership and implementation momentum has been created, continuous capacity building and sustaining interest through early implementation of show-case / catalytic tangible economic projects that arise from LED process are essential. Successful LED process and indeed more complete effectiveness of the LED framework would require that all provisions in its work plan are implemented without a break, and this requires putting in place sustainable financing mechanism. Systematic documentation of all learnings and experiences (intended and unintended) is necessary at this pilot stage. Failure of the pilot phase to even belatedly inform completion of the LED framework is in part due to inadequate systematic documentation of key lessons, and lack of functional monitoring and evaluation and documentation of key assumptions and risks.

RECOMMENDATIONS GOING FORWARD

The LED processes and mechanisms, right from framework development are multisectoral and very engaging by their very nature and coverage. Therefore to master and own up to all the processes, there is need for extended preparatory and learning period for all implementers and stakeholders at each step and enable effective cascading and contextualization. Seeking workable ways to bring everyone on board prior to the roll-out as also shown by successes in countries like South Africa is a pre-requisite. This requires developing and implementing a communication strategy. Deepening implementation in the present pilot areas for a longer period of time by implementing identified economic and tangible projects is recommended. Sharing all available information about LED, discovering strengths and complementary roles of all key actors well in advance before introduction of LED to a locality generates a fertile ground for stakeholder ownership and take off of LED once brought into a locality. To operationalise the legal provisions in LG Act 2012 that embed and institutionalise LED formally at both Central and Local Government.


Tag: Relevance Ownership Policies & Procedures Programme/Project Design Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction Coordination

4.

4.3 Implementation of Capacity Development for LED - to facilitate capacity development for LED planning and implementation at national and local levels;

DESIGN OF CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT COMPONENT This component focused on enhancing the knowledge and skills of individuals, institutions and stakeholders involved in planning and implementing LED at national and local levels. The intended objectives were to: a) Identify capacity gaps in institutionalising and coordinating LED planning and implementation at national and local levels; b) Design, conduct and facilitate orientation and training programmes on the relevant tools at national and local levels in support of LED planning and implementation; c) Develop LED knowledge products that inform the content of LED skills development, and; d) Mainstream LED capacity development into national institutions responsible for skills development. Realisation of capacity building objectives was to enable relevant personnel within the pilot districts, local authorities, MLGRD and BAIA, to undertake the necessary LED processes and implement development activities. In addition, the oversight capacity of councillors and the senior administrative leadership of councils in the pilot areas, MLGRD and BALA were to be strengthened through an integrated capacity development that includes effective service delivery and monitoring.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSES The LED capacity development was undertaken at both national and local levels. Its start-up dates as far back as 2012 under UNDP funding but without technical expertise on LED. National level capacity building involved the Technical Advisor (TA) provided by UNDP providing on-the-job mentoring, working with and guiding focal staff at MLGRD, BALA and the districts. Study tours were also undertaken – together with selected district leaders to understudy and benchmark with best international LED experiences for example at global LED forums. Notable among the forums was the one held in Italy in which all the 4 pilot districts participated. A capacity assessment was undertaken in the 4 pilot districts and a report produced in August 2013. A subsequent capacity building programme was developed and implemented in the 4 pilot districts. It targeted both elected and administrative leadership as well as the officers in the districts. Capacity development at local authorities’ level was undertaken mainly through orientation, seminars and actual skills imparting trainings both in site and in centralised locations. The duration of the trainings varied according to objectives. Training sessions on understanding LED, undertaking the LEA process and development of LED strategies were held on site. More technical trainings such as development of value chain maps and development of bankable business plans were conducted for technical task teams including LED commissioners and district leadership at central locations with the facilitation of consultants. The national LED implementing team, which included MLGRD, BALA and the LED Technical Adviser, trained an average of ten (10) technical task team members from each of the districts. The trained teams then went back to train the rest of the teams in their districts. From responses during field interviews, all districts did participate in these awareness and capacity building trainings. The four pilot districts received additional task-specific capacity building prior to undertaking each of the LED planning and implementation stage. This involved developing and taking the implementing staff through the guidelines for LED mainstreaming and integration into LGs, and for undertaking LED as a whole, including strategy development. 


Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Local Governance Communication Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Country Government Private Sector Capacity Building

5.

4.4 Implementation of LED Piloting in four of the sixteen districts in the country - to pilot LED planning and implementation in Chobe, Kgalagadi, Sowa Town and Francistown, draw lessons and inform LED policy development, planning and implementation;

DESIGN OF LED PILOTING COMPONENT The LED pilot track implemented in the four selected districts sought to test the application of the key LED process, draw lessons and inform LED policy development, planning and implementation. Botswana LED planning and implementation was designed as a six (6) stage process out of a total of 10 ideal stages for this medium term strategic type of planning. At the district implementation level, the six (6) stages were further combined into five (5) stage process. These are comparatively shown in figure 4.4 below.

IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSES FOR LED PILOTING The four pilot districts of Chobe, Kgalagadi, Sowa Town and Francistown specifically applied draft guidelines in the step-wise processes including; undertaking Local Area Assessment; identifying economic projects and, capacity development interventions that were implemented for both technocrats and politicians. The five (5) adopted LED piloting stages combined a strategy development and incorporation in DDPs / UDPs as one stage. LED incorporation in DDPs needed to be a separate stage, which would have better and enduring application when carried out after lessons from piloting have been used to revise the strategies. The processes in each of the five adopted stages are presented in Table 4.2 below.

COMPLETION PROGRESS AND ACHIEVEMENTS Out of the five (5) steps adapted in LED planning and implementation as described in chapter three, and also indicated in table 4.2 below, districts were able – as at the time of this evaluation to fully implement the three stages of: a) Organising effort (setting up structures and governance for implementation, stakeholder mapping, and integrating LED planning and implementation into structures and work process of districts with the following functional entities established and capacitated: LED Units, LED Focal Persons, LED Technical Task Teams, LED Stakeholder Forums, and District LED Commissioners); b) Local Economy Assessment, (involving LED orientation workshops and listing main economic products identified and prioritised, with pro-poor business value chain and business plans development); c) LED strategy development with catalytic projects identified

The remaining two stages not completed include; d) Strategy implementation (to be done by all the main actors. This to be centred around the main economic products of the district, starting with catalytic projects), and; e) M&E and review of the LED strategy (to be done every two years to check if the intended interventions and activities are still relevant to the local circumstances and the prevailing local economic trends). Table 4.3 below shows a list of key tools prepared and applied during each stage of the LED planning and implementation process. It indicates tools that were fully developed, those that were planned for but were either not completed or not developed at all. It also recommends which tools need to be revised and modified prior to application in phase II, and those that can be applied as they. Implementation performance was assessed in both periodic progress reports and obtaining views from interviewed stakeholders. Key informants were asked to estimate percentage completion of the planned actions to realise the expected targets / outcomes in the 5 years of the LED process. Respondents were guided to assess this by non-weighted counting of completed actions and deliverables under each output and outcome as percentage of total planned.


Tag: Effectiveness Local Governance Policies & Procedures Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction Urbanization Data and Statistics

6.

4.4 Implementation of LED Piloting in four of the sixteen districts in the country (continuation)

KEY LESSONS By its very nature, LED needs to have the private sector as a core “driver” through for instance initiating, generating and implementing business ventures, bringing in the much needed financial, entrepreneurial, marketing and even technological skills, etc. Districts needed timely special support from the centre to complete critical activities to which the preceding activities depended so that they can move to the next activities. A case in point is the LEAs for which some districts needed external support to complete. These activities took long to complete and this affected the rest of the dependent activities such as stakeholder profiling, developing business concepts and district strategies. It is also critical to always monitor assumptions that (a) stakeholders are automatically (without external incentives) interested in rallying behind a common LED strategy which they do not quite understand fully, and / or did not have input in developing, and; (b) that the private sector has the capacity and will make investments towards enhancement of the local economy, especially where free market is not assured.

LED process is quite involving and demanding. The need for continuity in focus requires stable staffing with continuous in-service refresher capacity building to drive the LED process on a continuous basis to a level it gets embedded in the daily and usual business of the districts and lower administrative structures. Removing perception of LED process as a stand-alone approach to development planning requires continued mobilization and engagement. It is this perception that creates a call from LAs for them to be allowed to set up a dedicated LED office, have a dedicated LED officer etc, all of which go against the ideals of mainstreaming. To reach a point where LED is considered as normal routine roles and functions of the LA is what would demonstrate full mainstreaming. Reaching this stage takes a considerable period of repeated planning and implementation of the LED provisions as part of the normal DDP / UDP processes. It might therefore be asking too much to require the LAs to mainstream LED at this point in their DDPs. This will require going through at least two DDP / UDP planning cycles.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Local Governance Knowledge management Programme Synergy Private Sector Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction Technology

7.

4.5 LED Knowledge Products Implementation To support the development and documentation of flagship knowledge products including policies, strategies and guidelines for LED planning and implementation;

DESIGN OF LED KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTS COMPONENT The focus was to develop LED knowledge products that inform the content of LED skills development. Systems and tools formed part of the LED strategies that guide implementation as follows: a) Local economy assessment [LEA] reports and LED strategies developed in Francistown, Sowa Town, Chobe and Kgalagadi Districts. These documents also detail the lessons and experiences of each of these processes in each of the 4 districts. b) Development of tools for mainstreaming and implementing LED at the national and local levels, such as manuals, guidelines, templates, matrices, checklists and others to guide local authorities in each of the stages involved in LED planning, implementation and management. c) Systems to improve service delivery institutionalise and implement LED at national and local levels developed. This was designed to deliver robust monitoring, evaluation and reporting systems, knowledge management systems and advocacy and communication strategies at the national and local levels. The robust systems would be the basis for the MLGRD, BALA and the pilot local authorities to effectively monitor and evaluate LED project performance; systematically document knowledge and learn throughout the project cycle, and; ensure that at all times, stakeholders understand project objectives and requirements, and their specific roles. The knowledge emerging from the pilots was to be disseminated at the national, local and regional levels. The 4 pilot districts were facilitated to develop monitoring plans, advocacy and communication plans.

LED KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTS IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSES Effort was directed to providing local authorities capacity and support to complete the adopted five (5) steps of LED planning. Accordingly, out of the design three outputs above (a, b and c) under knowledge products component, the implementation was completed on outputs a) and b), while the third output c) below was started but not adequately completed.


Tag: Effectiveness Local Governance Communication Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Capacity Building

8.

4.6 Implementation of Financing LED Component Focused on facilitating the development of a multi-pronged system to finance LED planning and implementation

DESIGN OF COMPONENT ON FINANCING LED The LED framework and implementation plan for Botswana provides for development of a national system to mobilise, allocate, use and account for financial resources that are deployed in support of LED. 

IMPLEMENTATION OF LED FINANCING The evaluation found that the Concept Note on the LED Fund was developed. However, the development of the LED fund will be considered under fiscal decentralisation. Therefore, the process to develop the Decentralisation Policy to anchor LED implementation in Botswana is urgent. 

COMPLETION PROGRESS AND ACHIEVEMENTS One (1) out of the initial six (6) planned deliverables under this component was implemented – based on the already existing central government transfer grants. This in part implemented the deliverable on; Facilitating the development and operation of a national inter-governmental fiscal transfer system as part of decentralisation in support of LED.


Tag: Efficiency Government Cost-sharing Private Sector Financing Local Governance Operational Efficiency Capacity Building Poverty Reduction

9.

4.7 M&E System for LED Implementation -- to support the strengthening of data collection and collation as the basis for informed decision making in LED planning and implementation management;

DESIGN OF COMPONENT ON M&E SYSTEM Development of M&E system was initiated prior to the LED Framework. Both LED Framework and District LED strategies provided for development and operationalization of their in-built M&E systems.

IMPLEMENTATION OF LED M&E SYSTEM Districts were facilitated through a Consultant to develop M&E plans, and advocacy and communication strategies, and some preliminary training was provided to districts on M&E. Full operationalization of M&E is needed in the scaling up phase II so that disaggregated data is systematically generated in all districts, packaged and stored in some easily retrieval format for continuous management support and guidance in policy and decision making. 

COMPLETION PROGRESS AND ACHIEVEMENTS Limited staff training on M&E, communication and advocacy was undertaken. This was not backed up by provision of operational M&E templates. There was however some disaggregated data in the districts of Chobe and Kgalagadi. Periodic reporting was undertaken by the districts without adequate templates for disaggregated data. Some districts (Chobe & Kgalagadi) initiated limited application of M&E in the implementation of their strategies. The rest of the districts did not systematically implement M&E plans, advocacy and communication strategies developed. 

ENABLING AND CONSTRAINING FACTORS The existing trained personnel are an opportunity that will require refresher hands-on training and mentoring. M&E was not embedded at the time of training districts on strategy development. The non-operational M&E system means that collection of disaggregated data, systematic recording of lessons and experiences will continue to be elusive, and management some decisions will be made blindly owing to lack of evidence backed by real data and information.

KEY LESSONS A well understood and functional M&E system is critical and needs to be operational right at the onset of pilot programme such as LED. The design and operation of an M&E system that serves adequately at the formative stages of LED planning (well before tangible economic projects and benefit streams begin to emerge) is not a straight jacket like developing an M&E system and tools for clearly delineated, visible, quantifiable and tangible outputs, impacts and outcomes. These would be like a school project or tree planting where you can count the outputs in terms of numbers of class rooms completed, desks provided or trees that have survived their first year on site, and later easily assess their impact on the communities. These come at the tail-end of LED, when actual investment projects start to operate in the communities, which can be upto 20 years from LED inception. M&E tools that can measure the intangible outcomes and impact arising from all the paper and software project outputs related to policies and technical advisory services are those that assess policy uptake by national stakeholders and the contributory attitudinal, procedural and behavioural changes. 

RECOMMENDATIONS GOING FORWARD It is essential to build capacity for Results Based M&E and implement MLGRD Sector Statistics Strategy. This will in a cascading manner support and strengthen LED coordination and monitoring at both national and local levels, with intensified M&E. As phase two gets started, M&E system should be part of development of strategies. Roles of existing staff to be expanded to fully cover M&E implementation, and their skills strengthened. Capacities of local communities to be developed to monitor development programmes. It is also recommended to implement MLGRD Sector Statistics Strategy, and empower local community governance structures to monitor development programmes.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Local Governance Communication Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Partnership Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Private Sector Capacity Building Coordination Data and Statistics

10.

4.9 Implementation of LED Programme Management Component - to provide technical leadership, guidance and effective management of the LED project including the management of development partners and consultancies commissioned to facilitate LED planning and implementation.

DESIGN OF LED PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT Main focus of this cross-cutting service component entailed the development of appropriate institutional arrangements to manage the project effectively in order to optimise its planned outcomes.

IMPLEMENTATION OF LED PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT National and local institutions, including PIT and systems ensured, resource flow, timeliness of implementation, and coordination. There were long time lags in between LED stages as a result of inadequate and high turnover of staff. The management process was constrained by lack of a well-functioning M&E system for the oversight function.

COMPLETION PROGRESS AND ACHIEVEMENTS The Project Steering Committee comprising MLGRD, BALA, UNDP, CLGF and the 4 pilot districts was established and oriented. It was operational and able to provide overall guidance. For instance, the PSC recommended that templates should be used for undertaking LEA process instead of implementing the LEBEA manual which was going to take some time and also provided timelines within which the LEA process should be completed. The Project Implementation Team comprising DLGDP, CLGF, UNDP and focal persons from the 4 districts was established and operational. It also faced challenges of staff turnover. Information was sought on how effectively and efficiently the LED process was managed and implemented at both national and local authorities’ levels. This includes the institutional and systems set-up, resource flow, timeliness of implementation, and through to coordination, synergies and factors contributing to high and low achievements of results. Total of 56.07% of respondents asked agreed that the LED process was efficiently managed. Details of these statistics are contained in the annex on selected statistical analyses. 


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Local Governance Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction

11.

5. Assessment of Sustainable Outcome and Impact Pathways

5.1 Achievements during the UNDP extension phase of LED planning and implementation

Initial UNDP support to LED was for a 2-year duration from 2014 – 2016. This was extended by one year upto 2017. This extension period enabled completing the LEAs and development of the LED strategies in all the four pilot districts as part of the provisions in the LED framework, which had only been approved in 2016. The late approval of LED framework was sufficient justification for this one-year extension. Districts were also able to prioritise two catalytic projects each, and to develop their projects’ value chains during this extension period. The extension also provided for drawing lessons from the LED piloting experience to inform the expansion phase, and further enhancement of capacity, with focus on M&E and communication training. This LED evaluation itself was undertaken during the extension phase of UNDP support. 

5.2 Outcome to impact pathways and sustainability prospects

Real essence in evaluation is to understand from intended beneficiaries of any development intervention if what is recorded as having been achieved is a fact with real back-up evidence on the ground, and how this is influencing / affecting the state of the beneficiaries. Merely compiling reported achievements as contained in the various records and performance progress reports is not an objective evaluation. This constitutes a synthesis of reports. Based on best practice evaluation criteria therefore, the implementing target groups in the districts that were interviewed were asked to compare progress in achieving expected outcomes and outputs in terms of those in which progress was highest and lowest. The results showed almost an even match overall, at 50.02% for the areas of highest achievements, and 49.98 for areas observed as having made slow progress. There were however variations between outcomes and outputs as indicated in the annexed table 8.3. Overall progress was marginally highest under outcome 3 on; Policy and institutional frameworks facilitating inclusive service delivery and LED process at national and local levels developed, followed by outcome 2 on; Tools and systems facilitating the delivery of inclusive, responsive and sustainable services and implementation of LED at national and local levels developed.

When asked about prospects of realising intended impact, an accumulated majority of 76.76% (adding from somewhat agreeing up to strongly agreeing on the Likert scale) are convinced that if the identified projects are implemented, LED will lead targeted areas and communities to diversify their economic activities, create jobs, reduce poverty and improve people’s livelihoods, along-side creating a favourable environment for a more dynamic economy and attracting further investments. The on-going development of draft bankable business plans and catalytic projects in the pilots is evidence of this pathway. The stakeholder informants were also asked about their level of satisfaction and sustainability of implementation and products of the LED project. Other issues asked included; progress towards adoption and institutionalisation of the LED approach by local and national government development planning system in its medium to long-term planning; if the pertinent challenges / limitations existing in the planning framework have been / are being addressed; contribution to wider national and global development aspirations and other catalytic effects; engagement of all stakeholders, and through to; any inroads being made towards effects in levels of employment and local revenue generation. Details are summarised in the annex 8.1:1(a), and a summary depicted in the pie chart in figure 5.1 below.


Tag: Effectiveness Sustainability Local Governance Communication Knowledge management Project and Programme management Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction South-South Cooperation

12.

5.4 Sustaining benefits and validity of assumptions

In the LED design, one key assumption was that there would be supportive policies across the economy. This assumption was certainly monitored kind of intuitively by both the implementers and the ultimate project beneficiary communities as evidenced in their FGD responses. More frequent interactions between central government and local authorities as expected did materialise. However the assumptions that did not turn out to be realistic include the following: 1) that stakeholders who are interested to rally behind a common LED strategy will contribute their own resources to implementing it, and; 2) that the private sector has the necessary capacity and resources to make investments towards the enhancement of the local economy, and will automatically come forward to join LED. These are some of the issues that LED Botswana could address as the roll-out is planned. The current generation of DDPs/UDPs have integrated the LED strategies. Full mainstreaming will take consistent implementation and plan roll-on over at least three cycles. 

5.5 Financial Management and Implementation Efficiency 

In financing and financial management, a total of US D 2.284 million was budgeted and US D 1.805 million was spent for the 3+1 years (2015 – 2018) phase 1 of LED. The UNDP contributed 1.995 and 1.69610 was spent. The CLGF contributed 0.289 million, out of which 0.108 was spent. Approximately US D 1,042,773.41from both UNDP and CLGF was for disbursement through the Government grants system via MLGRD and BALA, though only USD 562,967.31 was actually spent. Approximately 55.7% of total (USD 562,967.31) spent through the Government disbursement went directly to district local authorities. These funds were utilised in the districts for building capacities of district teams and leaders, and for undertaking the LED stages of LEAs, Strategy formulation, developing business plans. The balance of approximately 44.3% was mainly spent as travel expenses by facilitating staff from MLGRD and BALA. Part of the travel funds were also used for LED study tour to Italy. Figure 5.2, and Table 5.1 below present a summary of funds budgeted and spent on Key LED outcome areas segregated by source. Details by output are indicated in the annexed Table 8.4


Tag: Efficiency Sustainability Government Cost-sharing Local Governance Country Government Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction

Recommendations
1

6. Summary of Key Recommendations and Follow-on Deepening and Upscaling

6.1 Recommendations on Development Partners’ technical advisory support to GoB

Specific recommendations have been brought out as part of key findings under each of the eight components in chapter four. This chapter summarises recommended approach for kickstarting phase II of LED process for deepening LED implementation in the pilot four (4) districts, and up-scaling to cover the entire country. It also suggests areas in which Development Partners’ technical support could be more effective. 

A major assumption in LED policy, planning and subsequent implementation is that there will be a level of coherence in policy directions and synergies in their implementation across the various sectors. This is particularly critical in sectors and cross-cutting themes such as: fiscal policies, land use policies, eco-system considerations, social-economic strategies that can encourage local entrepreneurship, as well as institutional / governance considerations. This assumption is based on the past LED experiences elsewhere that the coherence in these policies is necessary for effective and complementary implementation of LED. Realities usually are that there will be some divergent policy prescriptions. Even where these may be converging, their implementation does not always progress in unison. The diversity can be there for good reasons as each sector seeks to optimally first fulfil its mandate and follow its development path. The key recommendations is first to keep monitoring the risks of these design assumptions made at start of LED not holding true over the entire LED processes. Based on the risk monitoring, give and take middle ground will be sought, that gives win-win situation for all sectors concerned. 

Policy development and subsequent approval must follow some laid down procedures. These usually involve key Government policy units of the different sectors working together through an authoritative forum, and consultations with Development Partners active in the specific sectors. These units also undertake policy analysis. A system of whole-of Government coherent policy making is required. A forum made up of Policy Units from key relevant sectors could through straight forward content analysis assess the various policies and their policy development process to ensure convergence. Joint policy making can be undertaken by this forum, with stewardship of the National Strategy Office or other relevant Planning Commission. This process usually culminates in some form of Grand Policy. In the case of Botswana, the developmental Vision 2036, which is a successor of Vision 2016 is some form of Strategic Grand Policy. The transformational Vision 2036, developed through a robust participatory process, and which seeks to achieve prosperity for all is a good nucleus for policy coherence. What follows is to critically examine all policies and ensure that they all together with their implementation strategies ascribe to the Vision 2036. 

 Development Partners are best placed to provide specialised technical assistance from international resources accessible to them. They also enable engagement with specific sectors they contribute to. Development Partners forums also enable exchange of priorities in the different sectors in line with the Development Partners’ Country Strategies. Through these forums, complementarities and synergies are identified and strengthened, any contradictions minimised, and joint advisory support provided to Government. Development Partners appear ready to help local authorities to develop effective and convincing bankable business plans that will garner the interest of the private sector for instance through capacity building in the development of these bankable business plans based on robust economic analysis. Other complementary rolls for which Development Partners are best placed to support Botswana include technical and financial support to manage the trade-offs between income generation and environmental sustainability, further deepening and sustaining transparency, accountability and overall democracy, as well as strengthening systems, tools, and personnel for data collection, analysis, storage and retrieval to facilitate policy formulation, analysis, implementation monitoring and evaluation, and development of knowledge management and dissemination systems. All these to be accompanied with building skills and capacities among actors for sustainability.

2

6.2 Recommendations for the follow-on Phase II of LED

BRIEF SITUATION ANALYSIS 

There appears to be uneven understanding of LED among Government officials, including staff, as well as insufficient implementation capacity in terms of consistency in numbers of retained personnel and skills. Government of Botswana operates several country-wide social welfare programmes in support of the marginalised, unemployed and vulnerable. There are also other livelihood sustenance programmes, including at-work sustenance such as IPELEGENG. There will usually be low progress and uptake of work-related socio-economic initiatives and efforts from communities where there is heavy reliance on social welfare programmes. In an effort to cause rapid and equitable socio-economic development country-wide, GoB started several parallel economic revitalisation and development programmes with objectives related to LED. These include programmes like SPEDU. Overall accumulated achievements in these programmes are affected by compartmentalisation of interventions with unclear linkages to other on-going programmes, duplication and also causing insufficiency in implementation capacities at various implementation levels. Where some projects get started, few are completed and therefore none becomes sustainable; few if any permanent jobs are created. There are also some concerns over lack of adequate business and market planning and training, which inhibit success. In addition, projects seldom seem to involve the private sector. Business Development Services (BDS) support such as financial literacy training, business plan development, establishment of cooperatives, collective bargaining, quality upgrading advice are not reaching the intended beneficiaries. Inadequate capacity and mandate for LGs to work on several of these issues curtails rapid progress by the home grown private sector.

The joined-up, supportive, inter-sectoral approach planning system and funding regime at Local Authorities levels needs enhancement. This should also incorporate identification of localities drivers of competitiveness, which cut across all economic sectors. While these are well established at national level, their efficacy at LA levels needs further work. In general, there appears to be inadequate market responsiveness in strategy formulation, programme development and project design. This is coupled with low marketing of programmes and projects and the establishment of markets for products. All these contribute to failure to create and sustain viable economic development anchors and clusters demanded by communities themselves, ultimately resulting to low interest, commitment and investments among communities in the LED process. Conceptualisation and mainstreaming LED in the work of LAs are still low.

Causing increased and diversified economic activity that is dynamic and creates quality and sustainable jobs needs foundational support through supportive and enabling national policies across the economy, and continuous capacity building. Involving communities and private sector was part of the planned interventions in LED project, but this was not adequately implemented. Interactions between central government and local authorities were however more frequent through all the trainings, mentoring, joint work sessions and meetings as reflected in the various minutes. Better coordination and provision of support to MLGRD from other sector ministries in the holistic LED process is a critical enabling factor that was insufficient. 

3

STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTING DEEPENING AND UP-SCALING AT NATIONAL LEVEL, AND COORDINATION WITH OTHER PROGRAMMES

Right at onset, all LED stakeholders need to have and fully comprehend a common understanding of, definition and purpose of LED (poverty relief versus encouraging economic growth), and what LED entails on a day to day basis for implementing district staff vi-a-vis their mainstream work mandates. This needs to be created through massive orientation-type educative communication and information. Total “from concept to completion”, model based on collaboration is a preferred strategy for inclusiveness and sustained interest. This overcomes opposing interests and different points of view in producing results on the ground. 

Implementation of a clearly defined decentralisation model, guided by a well-researched decentralisation policy, and supported by legal provisions through an Act of Parliament provides a framework for mainstreaming LED process. This policy would give relevant mandates, which transfer powers and resources to the local authorities to lead, design, implement, report and evaluate their own development interventions, as well as create own sources of local revenue generation. The legally backed decentralisation policy requires institutional provisions for implementation. Capacity building of Technical Staff and Politicians alike should not only focus on the processes for implementing LED, but provide real professional economic and innovation skills to enable them operate with a business mind-set and act in an entrepreneurial manner, thus working towards enabling environment for local economic investments. In this way, LAs are enabled to play a decisive role as leaders of their own development.

At National level, harmonising the somewhat contradictory and divergent policies that affect and would otherwise support LED framework and new economic projects such as access to land for economic development is crucial. Better coordination and provision of support to MLGRD from other sector ministries in the holistic LED process at LG level is a critical enabling factor and assumptions on which LED design was based. At the moment, MLGRD with support from BALA is performing a huge task which would be better and more efficiently performed when delegated and spread out between all concerned sector ministries. There is need to build synergies and convergence in operation among the many agencies responsible for economic empowerment programmes to enhance impact of programmes, right from inception and design stages in development planning. These sector ministries would require an authoritative coordinating entity – perhaps one that also approves their budgeted resources and monitors their implementation and expenditures. The follow-on LED scaling up should have a provision for engaging with all national and local authority policy development functions to employ corrective measures to fix any existing divergences in policies and their implementation. Having across-sectoral policy platform is one option. 

Another strategic initiative would be the development of a guide on sources of development financing the LAs can access. At implementation of the identified projects, LED needs to go beyond only government and development partners’ funding and explore funding opportunities with the private sector and any other potential sources such as independent grants, equity, loans, donations.

4

STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION DEEPENING IN THE CURRENT PILOT DISTRICTS

Deepening of LED in the current four (4) pilot districts – moving to implementation should start with a refresher review of all the products so far prepared in the pilot districts (LEAs, strategies, value chain maps and business concepts), prior to moving to complete the prioritised business concepts into bankable business proposals for implementation. These review interventions will also be supported by creation of two new components: (1) Partnerships and stakeholder involvement, and; (2) Resource mobilisation. The partnerships and stakeholder involvement is designed to plug two main limitations in the piloting phase one of LED. These are: (a) at national level, LED phase II to involve all other relevant agencies to ensure convergence of economic policies influencing LED, such as land policies, fiscal policies, decentralisation, as well as bringing in the academia for continuous education and sustained skills development. (b) to create more effective ways and incentives of ensuring obligated and sustained participation of private sector, CSOs, communities and other relevant stakeholders along all the stages in the LED process. 

Introducing the intervention on resource mobilisation is an attempt to diversify financing for the LED catalytic projects, and create long-term measures to stimulate and leverage funds from diversified sources (formal and informal). Essentially this component would focus on the private sector, enabling it take lead in actual creation of new economic ventures or expanding existing projects, including catalytic projects. Empowering civic society and providing effective platform for their participation, and empowering and optimally utilizing community development practitioners at both national and local authorities levels to effectively mobilize and empower communities would greatly enhance uptake and efficacy of LED at the local levels. Adequate project financing, with a move to have budgeting and disbursement of these project funds ultimately mainstreaming into council funds – as the process of mainstreaming LED into the LA work processes develops would be the compromise financing modality – pending restructuring of the fiscal transfer system as recommended in lieu of creation of LED fund. 

The development and integrative, multi-stakeholder approach forum with open, ‘ideagenerating nature’ is needed. This makes politicians, officials, business owners, workers and community members, including young people work together and feel part of the local economic development agenda through public participation learning by doing processes, with an emphasis on doing. The ‘forum and ideas factory model’ may take longer to reach a decision and to break soil on site, the cost of a longer planning timeframe is much less than that of the projects failing or not even commenced with. The Development Forum provides the platform for the initiation of such dialogical processes and the conceptualisation and realisation of shared, desired outcomes in the development of a specific area or project to actualise total model of “from concept to completion”, to produce results on the ground.

The LED implementation structures were formed and are functional in all the local authorities, their effectiveness and efficiency, as well as full understanding of the LED processes and expectations was quite variable and more work was needed to enable these structures reach all the targeted communities. The issue of where to embed and institutionalise LED also needs to be formalised at both Central and Local Government levels. To reach a point where LED is considered as normal routine roles and functions of the LA is what would demonstrate full mainstreaming. This should not be a rushed on-off item in the LED planning and implementation process. It means having LED as a legally binding constituent part of the DDPs and UDPs. Reaching this stage takes a considerable period of repeated planning and implementation of the LED provisions as part of the normal DDP / UDP processes. This will require going through at least two DDP / UDP planning cycles. Mainstreaming and making use of the existing local structures for implementation, with clearly defined job descriptions that include LED, and for which the individual staff and the entire organizations performance can be appraised on has to intensify during implementation deepening in phase II. All these will require availability of, and access to sufficient local resources and funds. Increased responsiveness of LAs to various and non-traditional funding opportunities through for instances assigning personnel to make continuous fund raising scanning, and follow up need to be in-built into the LED up-scaling phase.

The need to implement catalytic projects once a scan of the local economy has been undertaken is urgent and crucial to sustain momentum and enthusiasm. The recurring issue of project staffing needs to be addressed in a holistic manner. Making quick fixes of appointing dedicated LED officers, setting up a separate LED office might be necessary to drive the process at this start-up pilot phase, and in causing LED to become a “household” name. However the longterm strategy should be having ALL LED related functions mainstreamed into the established LA roles and functions, particularly the DDP / UDP planning and monitoring functions, and also as routine plan implementation roles and functions of the sector staff in the LAs. This means that LED functions should be part of the mandates with performance incentives such as having the individual staff and whole Local Authority appraisals, performance evaluations and any reward system incorporating LED. For the LAs, this could also become conditions for more transfer grants. This also means that any orientation of new staff should as well include LED operations.

5

STRATEGY FOR UP-SCALING TO OTHER DISTRICTS IN THE COUNTRY

The phase two of LED should proceed and the planning in the new districts should also be in two overlapping phases: The first phase would cover eight (8) new districts over a five-year period. The last four (4) new districts to be brought on board after year three. This third year will be a period of rigorous mid-term review of both the new eight (8) districts and the deepening in the first four pilot districts to generate additional lessons and experience for the last four districts, and for deepening implementation across the country. The entire LED planning process should at least cover the six stages, each given ample time duration to “sink in”. The several recommendations point to the need to have slightly extended orientation and continuous capacity building for the district implementing personnel, together with a more deliberate strategy to bring on board right from design through to implementation, all categories of the private sector alongside the recipient communities.

In development process, it is well recognised that it takes time to change local conditions, build capacity, organise participatory processes, and empower stakeholders, especially the marginalised and poor. At the same time “social capital” of local empowerment, partnerships and networks are a fundamental part of LED strategies. This suggests that LED is not about “quick fixes” or generating “wish-lists”. Creating and implementing a LED strategy is therefore anintegrated, process- oriented and non-prescriptive endeavour. It fundamentally embraces local values (poverty reduction, basic human needs, local jobs, integration of social and environmental values), utilises economic drivers (value-added resource use, local skills training, retention of income, regional cooperation) and considers development (the role of structural change, quality of development). Strategies to be employed are those that coordinate targeted actions that develop from within the local area (maximising local resources, plugging economic leakages) and from outside (attracting business and technology compatible with local values and needs). 

Along the planning and implementing journey, it is important to look for and start with small, easy actions with visible results to help maintain momentum. For most places, economic development requires a more fundamental approach, deep understanding of what the local area is good at and what it has to offer; where its weaknesses are, what outside threats and opportunities exist; and what the local area wants and needs. Success in LED depends on the local government encouraging a business environment where markets can operate efficiently, but appropriately, within the local context. Systematic documentation of all learning and experiences (intended and unintended), and continually sharing information across all stakeholders will be emphasised. Having a fully functional M&E, knowledge and information management systems at both LA and national levels, with proper templates for capturing lessons is a core strategy to activate this process.

There is a need to strengthen and consistently apply community development instruments to address economic and social needs and challenges. These are being practised variably but are presently tilted more in favour of welfare provision than actual developmental entrepreneurship among communities. The Technical Advisory Service provided by the UNDP Advisor, and guidance from MLGRD which were instrumental in getting LED off the ground in the pilot districts need to be emphasised during scaling up. Funds permitting, attachment of several technical advisers (each with a counterpart from Central MoLGRD) to be in-charge of a group of districts on regional basis, and to work closely on daily basis with the District LED Technical Task Teams would create more impact over shorter duration and mitigate negative effects of rapid staff turnover. Mechanisms for creating high ownership of the project through greater stakeholder involvement and inclusiveness in the LED process with all stakeholders represented on board right from design phase through to implementation. These with minimizing effects of high staff turn-over are pre-requisites for achieving better results.

Use of simple and comprehensively developed tools and approaches that are user friendly and clearly understood in the same manner by all implementers to guide all stages in the LED processes. This arises from repeated complaints from some of the implementers that some guidelines were complicated and cumbersome to use. It is already noted that districts where top leadership found time to get more actively and directly involved in LED had positive effect in expediting the processes. Therefore political will, conducive environment and support for the LED at all levels need to be developed and sustained. Availability of project information – constantly shared with all stakeholders is imperative. The LED process also requires the teams responsible for implementation to take more time comprehending and getting a common understanding of the process and the tools applied.

Although the LED strategy will be implemented over the next 6-year period of DDP 8 and UDP in the LAs, the strategy should be reviewed annually to allow for adjustments in response tochanging local conditions. A more comprehensive performance review should take place after 3 years. This review should consider resource requirements versus resource availability in suggesting changes and corrective measures where needed for the delivery of the strategy. It should include established and agreed monitoring and evaluation plan for the LED. Up-scaling to avoid transferring LED approach blue-print directly from its success elsewhere without contextual tailoring. 

6

ROLES TO BE PLAYED BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS IN UP-SCALING PHASE.

LED needs to be led by government through policies and sustaining a conducive fully serviced environment. This is as opposed to Government actually undertaking economic activities. It is well known World over that Government is not very efficient in conducting market businesses, but excellent in providing the right environment for this to thrive. Success of LED largely depends on public, business and NGO partnerships, with Government acting mainly as a facilitator, but there appeared to be no deliberate emphasis on bringing the private sector on board. The LED project planning and implementation process could have provided a deliberate programme and time for building coherence of efforts between the national and all local actors, including the private sector. By its very nature, LED needs to have the private sector as a core “driver” through for instance generating and implementing business ventures, bringing in the much needed financial, entrepreneurial, marketing and technological skills, etc. 

The private sector should be the driving market business operator in terms of economic innovations, financing, actual production and marketing, providing employment, etc. As such, a national political LED champion, preferably from the private sector is needed for LED, this will signal the importance attached by the state to LED and the private sector role. Further elaboration, simplification and if needed, translation of the tools and guidelines for broader understanding and compiling into a Revised LED Planning and Implementation Handbook to deliberately make provisions for a platform for private sector participation. Alongside private sector involvement is the need to empower civic society and provide effective platform for their participation, and empower and optimally utilize community development practitioners at both national and local authorities levels to effectively mobilise and empower communities. 

The LED is adopted as a sustainable medium to long-term local development empowerment approach and model. Skilled human resources with appropriate implementation capacities are a critical input resource in a country’s socio-economic development interventions. Sustainable and secure supply and acquiring a critical mass of the skilled human resources determine the long-term impact of the LED interventions. Phase two will work with appropriate tertiary academic institutions to set up a wide ranging curriculum that institutionalises LED education and training as one of the professional courses in the country. These can be offered at two levels initially (Academic and Professional Diploma Level, and a Professional In-service Certificate level). 

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