IFC’s strategy firmly places development impact at the heart of what we do.
In 2017, IFC developed an ex-ante impact assessment tool—the Anticipated Impact Measurement and Monitoring (AIMM) system. The tool enables us to better define, measure, and monitor the development impact of each project. IFC currently scores all of its investment projects for development impact using the AIMM system and has recently started to rate advisory service projects. The AIMM system is now fully integrated into IFC’s operations, allowing development impact considerations to be weighed against a range of strategic objectives, including volume, financial return, risk, and thematic priorities.
The AIMM system helps operationalize IFC’s strategy (“IFC 3.0”) by providing a robust operational framework that:
- Improves our ability to select and design projects that maximize our development impact
- Sets ambitious targets and the incentives to achieve them
- Strengthens our capacity to deliver an optimal mix of projects that generate both high development impact and solid financial returns
- Provides an “end-to-end” approach to results measurement by linking exante assessments with the learning and accountability function
The AIMM system incorporates several innovative approaches to assess development impact.
- It expands the standard focus on direct stakeholder effects by including economy-wide effects, which are estimated based on the most relevant economic modeling techniques.
- It considers a range of environmental effects (e.g. water efficiency, biodiversity, adaptation, greenhouse gas emissions).
- It expands the focus on direct effects by including explicit catalytic or systemic effects on markets.
- It considers both context through sector-specific development gap assessments and project design features through an assessment of the project intensity/efficiency.
- It draws on a reservoir of gap indicators and intensity indicators across AIMM sector frameworks developed to date. For each of these definitions, normalization (as possible) and benchmarks have been created, using available data, evidence, and technical expertise within IFC, the World Bank, and other recognized external sources, including partner development finance institutions.
Since January 2018, IFC has rated all new investment projects, providing a numeric score for each investment that represents ex-ante the project’s expected quantum of development impact. IFC has assessed over 1,400 investment projects (committed and uncommitted) for their expected development impact and assigned ex-ante—or expected—AIMM scores to each of them.
What We Measure
The Anticipated Impact Measuring and Monitoring (AIMM) system evaluates a project’s development impact along two dimensions:
IFC has developed over two dozen sector frameworks to assess projects across all four IFC industries. These sector frameworks are a step-by-step guide to assessing IFC projects, providing an analytical frame to facilitate judgments of a project’s expected outcomes and contribution to market creation.
Sector frameworks help assess desired effects by assigning ratings in four areas:
Gap: How big is the problem IFC is seeking to address?
Intensity: How much does the project contribute to the solution?
Impact potential: Based on the problem and contribution, what is the potential to deliver desired effects?
Likelihood: What is the likelihood that the project will deliver the desired effects?
Common assessment parameters are embedded across frameworks for cross-cutting themes — Environment, Climate, Economic Inclusion, Community, and Gender.
The monitoring of outcomes is an essential component of the AIMM system as it links ex-ante assessments with the learning and accountability function embedded in IFC’s existing results measurement system. Each development outcome claim in IFC projects is explicitly tied to one or more monitoring indicators and regularly tracked during portfolio supervision. By tracking these indicators, the AIMM system links project ratings with real-time results measurement findings.
Monitoring helps IFC:
- Track and report on ex-ante expectations of development impact claims throughout the project lifecycle;
- Create information feedback loops to facilitate corrective actions that address shortfalls in the delivery of development impact claims; and
- Generate an inventory of lessons learned from portfolio developments to improve the selection and design of future projects.