In the context of Samoa—where the financial market is relatively underdeveloped, the collateral framework is weak, and institutions have limited capacity—a more simple and focused project design would have been more appropriate. Some of the subcomponents such as the venture capital fund, credit bureau and chattels registry were totally new activities which made the design more complex and difficult to implement. Also, clearly a modest project like this would not be the best vehicle for addressing a fundamental political issue like land ownership. Greater focus should have been placed on creating an enabling environment for the financing and growth of micro and small enterprises. This would have involved developing the policy and legal environment for the sector, which to some extent was achieved by the project, and building institutions to service the sector.
The capacity constraints of implementing agencies were not clearly defined early on in implementation, especially the credit components. No clear strategies were developed to address constraints in the social and cultural environment and in market conditions that affect the policy component. As a result, the project suffered delays and the delivery of outputs and outcomes was significantly affected. Findings from project supervision should be used consistently to adjust project in light of experience.
While technical assistance in the form of logistical support, advisory assistance (through consultant inputs), study tours, and training help to improve project capabilities, they do not necessarily address long-term sustainability of institutions. Efforts towards promoting sustainability, such as for the SBEC, should include developing appropriate and effective financial systems, installing an effective management information system, institutionalizing good governance and management structure, and strengthening risk assessment, loan appraisal, and monitoring skills.
The project had no clear strategy on how the Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) should be supported beyond the life of the project. The SBEC was left with a huge loan guarantee portfolio at the end of the project and no long-term means to sustain its operations.
The report and recommendation of the President indicated that the risks of cost overruns for project implementation were mitigated through careful and detailed cost estimation. However, the PCR stated that project implementation support costs exceeded the appraisal estimates. Adequate budget needs to be allocated to support the implementation of location-specific projects that require training and technical advice for local stakeholders. The amount provided should be based on ADB and other development institutions’ experience in implementing projects that are susceptible to such issues.
A tourism marketing and promotions consultant would be able to link together the tourism attractions being developed into various tourism circuits of the countries and the GMS.