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Final Evaluation for Ghana & Zambia renewable energy project
Commissioning Unit: China
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 12/2019
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: China
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

UNDP to continue engaging in trilateral cooperation projects with national implementation.

The donor and implementing partners in China, Ghana and Zambia highly value UNDP’s participation in the project, as they have been able to benefit from the UN network, expertise in complex SSC projects and technical knowledge on renewable energy. The evaluation has evidenced the value added of setting up the project as a trilateral rather than a traditional bilateral cooperation project. It is a consensus opinion of stakeholders in the projectsthat UNDP’s role as a facilitator has enriched the project and ensured that the project was responsive to the diverse needs of the three countries involved. UNDP has also been key to facilitate communication and relations between the three countries. Furthermore, communication between implementing partners and UNDP has been very close owing to UNDP having offices in the three countries. UNDP has also been crucial in promoting the use of international standards and procedures by the three countries and in all activities of the project, contributing to following best practices and ensuring transparency. Adherence to a common set of rules through the use of UNDP norms and standards has fostered trust amongst parties. It is recommended that UNDP continues to engage in trilateral cooperation, offering its network and experience in SSC projects, with a national implementation modality that ensures ownership of implementing partners. All implementing partners should commit to inform all primary stakeholders, in a timely fashion, of the achievement of milestones, or lack thereof, to avoid misunderstandings show commitment with the project from all parties. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/15] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

Agreed. UNDP China will continue engaging in trilateral cooperation projects, including projects with national implementation; to facilitate communication and relations between three or more partners/countries for better development results and mutual South South learning.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Launch TrC RETT projects in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia (the latter being NIM)
[Added: 2019/12/16]
UNDP China, China South South Facility (CSSF) 2019/08 Completed 2 projects to be launched
Launch TrC projects under Chinese South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund drawing lessons from this evaluation
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/23]
UNDP China, China South South Facility (CSSF) 2020/12 Completed A new project under the SSCAF will be soon launched. During the project design we have refered to the lessons from the project. History
2. Recommendation:

Further promote South-South Cooperation for the private sector

The projects have set the basis for an innovative way of engaging in South-South Cooperation. The project has facilitated the creation of private sector partnerships, which have the potential of creating a new channel for knowledge and experience exchange. Although no commercial activities have officially started there are several examples of established partnerships, such as the Joint Venture between Tobinco – Reroy and Evergreen for the soalr project, which has been signed and the facilities are expected to be finalized in Accra before the end of 2019. Another example is the case of Poly Solar, a Chinese company which has visited Ghana to learn about the context and how to better respond to the needs of private sector engaged in solar in the country. It is recommended to continue to engage in private sector SSC and more visibility is given to this innovative mechanism of cooperation for future projects. UNDP staff from China, Ghana and Zambia should take every opportunity to share challenges and achievements with other country offices in order to promote UNDP’s engagement in SSC for the private sector.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

Management response: UNDP fully recognizes the importance of involving the private sector, why private sector engagement has a key role in existing trilateral cooperation projects that both will continue to grow throughout the implementation of these projects and in future trilateral cooperation that engages the Chinese government.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a concept for engaging Private Sector under the South South Cooperation Assistance Fund
[Added: 2019/12/16]
UNDP China, China South South Facility (CSSF) 2019/12 Completed
Initiate the second phase of the China-Ghana RETT project with a on the Joint Venture between Chinese and Ghanaian companies for solar manufacturing in Ghana
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/23]
UNDP China, SD team and China South South Facility (CSSF) 2020/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: The phase I hasn’t been financially closed yet. No plan for phase II yet.]
History
3. Recommendation:

Encourage robust project design with adequate result frameworks that allow proper M&E

A results framework is an important tool to closely monitor and evaluate projects. However, if it is not well designed it does not fully capture all the work done and may not be an accurate way to quantitatively and objectively monitor actual changes as a result of the project. The results framework for these projects did not include adequately defined indicators, neither did it have baselines and targets assigned to the indicators. As a result, reporting was done against activities and, consequently, there has been information lost. It is recommended that the project design includes adequately defined indicators with corresponding baselines and targets so that progress is assessed against these, and a complete assessment of progress can be done. This will also allow evaluating cross-cutting issues such as adequate gender mainstreaming in the project. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China Take note of the recommendation and recognize that the results framework of the project, which stems from 2013, would have benefitted from a results-based design to better monitor actual changes as a result of the project. As the project is coming to an end in six months from now no specific action point for the project, but for UNDP China to ensure a stronger Quality Assurance process and in particular RBM is ensured for existing and future SSC/TrC projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Programme and Project Management training for all personnel at the Global Partnership Cluster (GPC) at UNDP China
[Added: 2019/12/16]
UNDP China 2019/08 Completed 3-day training 20-22 August 2019
Conduct Project Design Hacker’s Kit workshop at the UNDP China, South South Facility
[Added: 2019/12/16]
UNDP China, CIP and China South South Facility (CSSF) 2019/09 Completed 2-hour portfolio sensemaking training
4. Recommendation:

Early identification of difficulties and integrate risk assessment in the results framework

Risks identified in the project design phase were not assigned to specific activities or outcomes. They were classified in the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) categories: contextual, programmatic and institutional risks, and according to UNDP/GEF Risk Standard categories: environmental, financial, operational, organizational, political, regulatory, strategic, and other. Although during the evaluation the risk identification was evaluated as relatively adequate by stakeholders, there is room for improvement.

During the design phase, potential difficulties inherent to complex projects should be identified during the design phase as well as possible actions to avoid bottlenecks and delays. For example, UNDP procurement procedures stipulates that payment is done upon delivery and, generally, Chinese private sector requires upfront payments. This has caused delays in procurement process, such as for the generator for the Tsatsadu 40kW mini hydropower facility in Ghana. If this type of clashes are identified during the design phase – through increased consultations – and decisions made then, delays will be mitigated or avoided. It is thus recommended to review procedures and ways of working of all parties involved in a project and identify if any clashes exist to avoid delays during project implementation.

It is also recommended that as well as DANIDA and UNDP/GEF classifications, risks are associated to specific outcomes or even activities when possible. A detailed breakdown of risk analysis will allow to identify additional risks and closer assess their likelihood and impact on the project. This will also allow to isolate a challenge faced and a faster reaction to it. Additionally, it will facilitate project assessment, as impact assessment will contribute to learning each activity’s contribution to its associated outcome. Revision of risks identified and management strategies will be easily carried out as it will be done as part of the overall revision of the project. These should be done periodically and when an unforeseen challenge is faced, national PSCs or GSC should convene to discuss and agree on a mitigation strategy. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China agrees and recalls the importance of reviewing procedures (incl. procurement) of various actors to identify any bottlenecks and risks, and to keep adequately monitor those risks throughout the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Do Risk Matrix review by the PMs on a quarterly basis for all SSC/TrC projects at UNDP China; and updated on a regular basis, and brought to the attention of the (Global) project boards or related as needed.
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2019/12/29]
UNDP China, CSSF 2019/12 Completed Confirmed by PM. History
Programme and Project Management training for all personnel at the Global Partnership Cluster (GPC) at UNDP China
[Added: 2019/12/16]
UNDP China 2019/08 Completed 3-day training 20-22 August 2019
5. Recommendation:

Guard the project against the impact of currency fluctuations

The project has experienced an almost 20% loss of funds due to currency fluctuations, which has inevitably impacted on activity and result delivery. This risk was not foreseen in the project design phase, but it was in a revision of risks at a later stage. It is recommended that the project does not bear the risk of currency fluctuations as it can impact on project delivery. This could be done in various ways:

• If possible, transfer the funds in one installment and when the agreement is signed. This eliminates the risk of currency fluctuation as the less time between signing and disbursement, the more likely that the amount in DKK and USD remain as stated in the project document.

• The project includes a contingency fund to compensate losses of currency fluctuations and mitigates the impact on the project budget.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China agrees with the recommendation and will put in place closer monitoring of project financing for SSC/TrC projects, particularly currency exchange rates.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Programme and Project Management training for all personnel at the Global Partnership Cluster (GPC) at UNDP China
[Added: 2019/12/16]
UNDP China 2019/08 Completed 3-day training 20-22 August 2019
6. Recommendation:

Simplify the project management structure of the projects and strengthen M&E

The projects have the same objectives and very similar expected results for Ghana and Zambia. However, they were designed as two separate projects and effectively treated as four projects (two in China, one in Ghana and one in Zambia) where UNDP China has had an overall coordinating and management role. The evaluator recommends that project management is streamlined through an integrated project design of both projects. Aligning activities and outcomes would simplify reporting and monitoring of progress and the overall integration of APR, following the same guidelines. Setting up both projects as one would facilitate UNDP China’s role as the overall coordinator of the project, facilitate communication among all parties and encourage continuous learning and experience exchange among all stakeholders. Furthermore, setting it up as one project, rather than two parallel projects would encourage and facilitate cooperation and interaction between Ghana and Zambia as well as between China and Ghana, on one hand, and China and Zambia, on the other hand. It is also recommended that M&E mechanisms are strengthened through mid-term reviews, audits and periodic reporting to the donor, not only through the APR but also informing about key messages arising from bi-weekly calls among the implementing partners and as soon as bottleneck are identified.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China agrees that project management would have benefitted from being streamlined through an integrated project design of both projects, to simplify reporting and monitoring of progress and the overall integration; to facilitate UNDP China’s role as the overall coordinator of the project, and to facilitate communication among all parties and encourage continuous learning and experience exchange among all stakeholders.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Set-up one Multi-Country/SSC Project Document for projects funded under SSCAF
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2019/12/29]
UNDP China, CSSF 2019/09 Completed Confirmed by PM. History
7. Recommendation:

Seek more strategic collaborations and partnerships

During the evaluation, it was proven that partnerships have been key in achieving results, ensuring their sustainability and maximizing the impact of the project. For example, providing technical support to rural health facilities in Zambia significantly contributed to increasing access to RET in rural areas and improving people’s livelihoods in those areas. There is great potential to expand these collaborations with not only health facilities but also supporting schools, housing, agriculture, etc. It is therefore recommended that the project explores partnerships with ongoing RE projects and other projects and public services that already use or stand to benefit from RE, and seeks ways to collaborate with these projects, for example through capacity building or providing technical support. These collaborations will also allow stakeholders to exchange experiences with a wider network and ensure that RETT will continue beyond the projects.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China recognize the need for being strategic in its collaboration and partnerships to build on work of existing project and partners to better scale up its activities as well as fostering relationships between south-south providers.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
SSC Engagement Strategy to be developed for the CSSF will include elements of increased partnership and learning under participating countries and actors under the CSSF SSC/TrC projects
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/23]
UNDP China, CSSF 2020/12 Completed The SSC SOP and accountabily framework were developed as per the recommednations from this evaluation, esp. elements of increased partnership and learning under participating countries and actors under the CSSF SSC/TrC projects. History
8. Recommendation:

Promote South-South Cooperation among all participating countries

SSC in these projects has been significantly limited to China – Ghana, and China – Zambia cooperation. Further South-South cooperation and experience exchange should be promoted for these projects, specifically between Ghana and Zambia, to ensure continuous cooperation among countries and increase exposure to other experiences and lessons learned. An online platform to share success cases between countries would insert an additional component of SSC into the project. This would be a cost- effective and innovative way to promote South-South cooperation. Encouraging SSC among all participating countries and exchanging experiences would facilitate the implementation of other outcomes, as experience exchange can contribute to a faster and easier addressing of challenges. It is recommended that countries’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the different areas of the project be assessed and mechanisms be set up for the relatively advantaged country to share its knowledge and experience with the relatively disadvantaged country to strengthen a specific area. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China fully agree to the need for promoting South-South Cooperation among all participating countries. This will be done going forward through activities in projects and across portfolios.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
For trilateral cooperation projects, develop standard operating practice to facilitate regular coordination between project partners for South South learning.
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2019/12/29]
UNDP China, CSSF 2019/12 Completed Confirmed by PM. History
9. Recommendation:

Expand the scope of case studies presented to build capacity

The Chinese case is relevant and has been of great value to build capacity in RETT in Ghana and Zambia. However, the private sector is still reluctant to engage in RE projects mainly because of the high cost of financing that renders the projects unbearably risky. It is recommended that success cases from non-participating countries, but relevant for them, are also included in capacity building components. Exposing the private sector to case studies from other African countries with similar contexts would be helpful. As much as China’s case has been helpful to build capacity, it is still seen as too different to Africa and it would be easier for them to relate with cases from similar countries. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China recognize the need for expanding the scope of case studies to build capacity, particularly for Chinese private sector investments in renewable energy technologies across countries in Africa and other non-participating countries. UNDP China also agree that exposing private sector and linking them to experienced investors in the Zambian and Ghanaian context would have benefitted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP China to contribute to the global publications on SSC with partners such as UNOSSC
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2019/12/29]
UNDP China, CSSF 2019/12 Completed Confirmed by PM. History
UNDP China will organize South South Exchange events under its SSCAF portfolio to facilitate knowledge exchange and provide opportunities for issues of concern
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/23]
UNDP China, CSSF 2020/12 Completed The CO has indeed organized South South Exchange events under its SSC portfolio. History
10. Recommendation:

Identify additional sources of financing for the project during the design phase

Identifiying and setting up financing mechanisms, has been one of the underachieved outcomes of the project. It is recommended that the design and inception phases devote more resources to these activities, especially if the project is being implemented in countries with very high cost of financing, like Ghana and Zambia, to avoid not having resources to achieve the expected results. A recommendation is to search for additional and diversified funds for pilot projects and other activities during the design phase, and to conduct broad consultations which include financial institutions as well as other international organizations.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China agree that there was inadequate funding allocated in the design phase and identification of additional sources of financing should have had a clear strategy from the outset. The project did succeed in securing co-financing, but could improve its preparedness and engagement with networks and knowledge resources at UNDPs disposal.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a concept on engaging private sector for the China South South Facility together with BKK regional hub
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/01/13]
UNDP China, CSSF 2020/01 Completed This key action has been completed according to PM. Recorded on Jan 13, 2020. History
11. Recommendation:

Encourage Public Private Partnerships to incentivize RETT

It was confirmed during the interviews for this evaluation that a key barrier for more private sector engagement has been the high cost of financing and the inability of the private sector in Ghana and Zambia to bear the risk of projects. In light of this, the government should support the private sector to overcome these barriers. For similar projects, it is recommended to encourage government’s participation, at least in the early stages of projects, to take on part of the risks, co-finance projects and therefore facilitate private sector participation. Creating Public Private Partnerships (PPP) would allow the private sector to access funds without bearing the high risks of private lending. Fewer risks and less need for financing would encourage the private sector to participate in RETT projects in countries with similar context to Ghana and Zambia. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China acknowledge the need for not only involving government in implementation but also pertaining to Public Private Partnerships for renewable energy technology (RET) to lowering risks for investing in RET.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a concept on engaging private sector for the China South South Facility together with BKK regional hub
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/01/13]
UNDP China, CSSF 2020/01 Completed This key action has been completed according to PM. Recorded on Jan 13, 2020. History
12. Recommendation:

Provide advisory services and capacity building to establish commercial partnerships

The project has been successful establishing partnerships with key strategic institutions that facilitate RETT between China and Ghana and Zambia, such as ICSHP, Bui Authority, KGRTC and the University of Zambia. Despite the results achieved, several challenges have been faced which have prevented more participation of the private sector – i.e. high cost of financing and poor technical business skills (develop business plans, cost benefit analysis, etc.) of the private sector in Ghana and Zambia. It is recommended also that capacity building as part of the project is expanded to include not only technical RET know-how but also commercial, economic feasibility assesment, and marketing expertise and technicques. This can be done through partnerships with relevant institutions or trainings could be directly delivered by UNDP. This capacity building can assist firms in engaging in commercial partnerships, carrying out cost benefit analysis, negotiating contracts and securing funds from diversified sources, which would contribute to strengthening sustainability of RETT and developing stronger relations between Ghanaian and Chinese, and Zambian and Chinese firms to ensure RETT from China to Ghana and Zambia. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

UNDP China recognize the need for advisory services and capacity building activities in engaging commercial partnerships, economic feasibility assessments, marketing, contract negotiation and securing funds from diversified sources for improved sustainability of RETT and strengthen partnerships between South-South partners.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Under the China, Sri Lanka-Ethiopia RETT project we will carry out match-making activities between businesses and academia. A key focus will be to establish commercial partnerships
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/23]
UNDP China, CSSF 2020/12 Completed China, Sri lanka-Ethiopia RETT project has launched. The match-making activities between businesses and academia have been designed under project work plan which will be implemented between now and 2022. A key focus will be to establish commercial partnerships. History
13. Recommendation:

Consult with governments and key partners at the end of the project to design an exit strategy

Sustainability of the project heavily relies on the exit strategy of a project and whether there is a plan to ensure continuity of the results achieved by the project. In the RETT projects no official consultations to design an exit strategy have been carried out, but actions to ensure sustainability have been. To further ensure that these actions are efficient, it is recommended that an exit strategy is agreed among all key stakeholders. This will also assist UNDP in identifying future areas in which it can continue supporting the partners involved to ensure that the results continue beyond the duration of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/22]

Agreed to design an exit strategy, in particular to identify future areas in which UNDP can continue supporting the partners involved to ensure that the results continue beyond the duration of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prepare an end of project report and asset transfer list signed by relevant parties.
[Added: 2019/12/16] [Last Updated: 2020/11/23]
UNDP China, Ghana, Zambia 2020/12 Completed The report was developed already. The asset list will be done by the end of 2020. History

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