Project cluster evaluation on rural enterprise development

03 августа 2023

This is the first project cluster evaluation (PCE) to be conducted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. The choice of the topic, rural enterprise development, reflects the focus areas laid out in IFAD’s Strategic Framework 2016-2025, which include diversified rural enterprise and employment opportunities. The PCE reviewed four ongoing projects focusing on rural entrepreneurship, enterprise and business development, and employment creation in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana and Nepal.

A main aspect of the project impact related to income diversification as a risk mitigation strategy for the supported entrepreneurs, even if they did not create many jobs for others. One of the main issues highlighted in the PCE is the lack of clarity about how supported enterprises would increase incomes and employment, and for whom. The evaluation also pointed out the need for longitudinal and granular data for assessing project results and impact on different categories of participants, including employment outcomes.

The PCE found that technical skills development and technologies were key in improving productivity and production, both on- and off-farm, and consequently the revenues of enterprise activities. However, in some cases, greater synergies with financial services could have facilitated better adoption of technologies. In addition, non-technical aspects such as improved management practices and marketing are also important for upgrading enterprises to promote growth.

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