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1 Introduction

1.1 Evaluation background

Danida has a long tradition of programmes supporting Danish enterprises for the purpose of transfer of knowhow and technology, and stimulating investments and business development more broadly in developing countries. These programmes have shifted orientation and design over the years. This Evaluation concerns one phase that was implemented from 2006 to 2011, called Danida’s Business-to-Business Programme (B2B). B2B replaced the earlier programme Private Sector Development (PSD) implemented from 1993 to 2006, and B2B was in late 2011 replaced by the Danida Business Partnership (DBP), which is still ongoing (August 2014).

The B2B Programme provided grant support to Danish companies and their partners in eligible countries of up to DKK 5 million in three phases: Contact phase allowing companies to investigate and find a partner through a matchmaking grant covering travel costs; Pilot phase providing support to costs associated with initial collaborations such as feasibility studies and the formation of business models; and Project phase providing up to DKK 5 million (including previous phases) for deepening the partnership usually in joint ventures.

While there are many similar business alliance programmes carried out by donors, for example by all the Nordic countries, B2B stands out as the greatest in budget and reach. As such, the Evaluation and the learning from it should be of interest to many donor agencies.

1.2 Evaluation purpose

The Evaluation of the B2B Programme has the dual purposes of assessing and documenting the B2B Programme as well as providing lessons for future implementation of Danida Business Partnerships. The basic evaluation questions to be answered are:

  1. To what extent and how has the B2B Programme contributed to poverty reduction by creating growth and employment in Danida partner countries?
     
  2. What lessons can be learned for improved design, implementation monitoring and management of future Danish support to strengthen local business development through partnerships with Danish businesses?

The Terms of Reference (ToR) request that the Evaluation should “document what has worked well and less well in the achievement of the results using both quantitative and qualitative data. The Evaluation is expected to assess the support provided with regards to its relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. Furthermore, the Evaluation will identify the most important factors in the programme context and in relation to the characteristics of beneficiary companies that affect the programme achievements, and assess their importance.” For details of the ToR, see Annex A and F.

1.3 Methodology

The applied methodology for the Evaluation takes its point of departure in the ToR, especially Section 4 “Evaluation criteria and evaluation questions” and Section 5

“Approach and Methodology”. The ToR for the Evaluation specifies 20 evaluation questions under the headings of the OECD/DAC evaluation criteria. These questions were transformed into nine broad evaluation questions and a number of judgement criteria related to each evaluation question – ensuring that the intended scope of the Evaluation was maintained. A 10th evaluation question concerning value added (often used in EU evaluations to assess the synergy of member states’ interventions) was initially included. However, it was found in Uganda and Bangladesh that there is not much coordination among the development partners engaged in this kind of assistance and thus limited value added. Consequently, the 10th evaluation question was abandoned in the synthesis report. The resulting nine questions are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: B2B Evaluation questions by criteria
Criteria Evaluation Question
Relevance EQ1: To what extent has the B2B Programme been consistent with private sector development requirements in the partner countries and with Danida’s private sector policies?
Efficiency EQ2: How efficiently were the B2B Programme instruments used in creating partnerships and how did external factors influence the results?
EQ3: To what extent did the management of the B2B Programme provide an efficient framework for: delivery of services to companies, utilisation of resources, and accounting for results?
Effectiveness EQ4: How has the B2B Programme led to knowledge and technology transfer in the local partner company and what were the resulting short-term outcomes?
EQ5: How has the B2B Programme led to improved conditions for employees and the wider population and what were the resulting short-term outcomes?
Impact EQ6: What long-term effects have the B2B Programme had on the local partner companies and specific business sectors, and how have these influenced local communities, and the national enabling environment?
EQ7: What long-term effects have the B2B Programme had on the Danish partner companies?
EQ8: To what extent and how has the B2B Programme contributed to poverty reduction by creating growth and employment in Danida partner countries?
Sustainability EQ9: To what extent have the benefits derived from the B2B Programme continued after project completion?

An Evaluation Matrix has been prepared combining evaluation questions, judgement criteria, indicators, and means and source of verification. In parallel and to ensure compatibility with the Evaluation Matrix, a diagram for the Theory of Change was developed based on the B2B Programme’s objectives – indicating positive outcomes and impacts. The reality, however, pointed to that not all partnerships developed positively, and not all outcomes and impacts materialised to the extent anticipated. A number of evaluation tools have been applied in order to respond to the questions above. The key tools are:

  • A review of the relevant academic literature as regards: International business partnerships; Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and development; and Donor PSD programmes.
     
  • A Portfolio Analysis of the B2B Programme, covering 445 Pilot and Project phase partnerships[1], using available information in Danida’s B2B database.
     
  • Case Studies in Uganda and Bangladesh through field visits, which attempted to cover all B2B Pilot and Project phase projects through site visits and interviews with the partners. The case study countries were preselected in the ToR. These case studies have been documented in separate country reports, which form an integral part of the Evaluation.
     
  • A Desk Review of a random sample of 20% of the total B2B portfolio. This review has been based on available documentation for each collaboration, interviews by phone, Skype or in person with the Danish and local partners to the extent these were reachable. The summary of findings is presented in Annex E.
     
  • An Issue Paper developed on the basis of issues that arose during the Ugandan and Bangladeshi country studies and the desk review of the random sample.
     
  • An E-survey sent to all partner companies engaged in the B2B from 2006 to 2011 in the Pilot or Project phase. Over 750 survey requests were sent, of which 22% were responded to.
     
  • A half day Focus Group Discussion with a dozen Danish enterprises engaged in selected ‘success stories’ as defined by various stakeholders.
     
  • Interviews with stakeholders including Danida’s Department of Green Growth (DGG) responsible for the B2B Programme, the embassies and the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) and the Danish Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (HVR).

The Uganda and Bangladesh case studies are available for download as separate files at http://evaluation.um.dk. Results from the E-Survey, the Focus Group discussions, the random sample analysis as well as tools used in the random sample, a list of references and a case study from Uganda can also be downloaded from the same website.

The methodology as elaborated by the Evaluation Team was first presented in the Inception Report, but has since been subject to a number of refinements as experience was gained in the process of conducting the Evaluation.[2] The Evaluation Team has had an intensive interaction with Danida (EVAL) and an Evaluation Reference Group (ERG) throughout the Evaluation both through reporting and meetings. Especially methodological issues have been subject to review by EVAL and the ERG. For further details on the methodology including the aforementioned Evaluation Matrix and Theory of Change, see Annex B, C and D.

The robustness of the findings varies. It is strongest in the case studies in Uganda and Bangladesh as these studies allowed visit at site for most collaborations and more in-depth interviews with stakeholders in person, especially the local partners. In the case studies, the triangulation was overall good. In the random sample analysis the robustness of the findings is weaker as it was based, in addition to the B2B project documentation, almost exclusively on telephone and Skype interviews with mainly the Danish partners, and without site visits.


[1] The number of Pilot and Project partnerships under the B2B has been derived from Danida’s database, cleaned from projects, which should be labelled as PSD or DBP and also projects under other programmes. If a Danish company has had a partnership in a Pilot phase followed by a Project phase, this is counted as one partnership or project.

[2] The Evaluation Team comprised: Claes Lindahl from DevFin Advisers (Team Leader), Erlend Sigvaldsen from Nordic Consulting Group Norway, and Per Kirkemann and Marie-Louise Appelquist both from Nordic Consulting Group Denmark. For the Bangladesh and Uganda case studies, the team was supplemented by Reza Patwary and Birungi Korutaro respectively.

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This page forms part of the publication "Evaluation of Danida Business-to-Business Programme 2006-2011 – Evaluation 2014.05" as chapter 1 of 11.
Version no. 1.0, 2014-11-14
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/14_danida_btb_programme_2006_2011/index.html