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The Country and Subregional Programming Process
The Country and Subregional Programming Process
People in front of a planning board. Regional Cooperation - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

The Programming Process is the exercise whereby the Bank defines its strategies and programs its lending, technical cooperation, small project, cofinancing, and preinvestment activities at the country and subregional level.
Subregional Programming is programming encompassing a group of countries for a common purpose which transcends the interests of a single country or subregional multilateral organizations that fund financial assistance or technical cooperation projects and programs.


To establish the Bank's strategy vis-à-vis each borrowing member country and subregion and define areas for priority action to foster the economic and social advancement of the country or subregion.

To agree with each borrowing member country the operational program to be carried out with that country, and ensure that the program will contribute effectively and efficiently toward the country's development goals.

Basic Guidelines

The programming process is supported by and complemented with country and regional economic and sector studies. This process requires on the part of the Bank a multidisciplinary approach and ongoing, structured dialogue with its borrowing member countries and subregional agencies on key issues for economic and social development. The country programming process enables an ongoing updating of the Bank's Operational Program("Pipeline").

Country operations programming must be consistent with:

- The socioeconomic development needs and priorities of the individual countries concerned.

- The Bank's overall medium-term operational targets, its guidelines and general strategies for achieving these targets, and its operational policies.

- Forecasts as to funding available.

- The guidelines set forth in the Country Paper and in regional papers.

Country and Subregional Programming follow similar processes, and produce similar documents.

The Board of Executive Directors systematically examines country programs and regional programming. Program papers (specifically the Country Paper and Operations Annex) are the basis for substantive dialogue between the Board and Management on macroeconomic and development policy and performance issues faced by the country.


1. Profile I for an investment loan, Sector Loan Profile, Hybrid Loan Profile, Small Projects Profile, Technical Cooperation Profile, or the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) operations, whose objective is to include the project or technical cooperation in the inventory of possible operations of the Bank and their inclusion in the Operational Program agreed upon with the country.

2. Country Paper (CP) has the function of effectively governing the Bank’s operational relations with borrowing member countries. To fullfill this function it must serve as an efficient vehicle to focus Bank-country dialogue, design an agreed upon strategy, anchor the programming process, and provide a basis for program assessment.
To this end, the Country Paper should:

a. Be consistent with the mandates of IDB-8 and the Bank’s Institutional Strategy. This does not mean that all CPs would contain all priority areas in the IS, but rather that the four pillars and two over-arching themes would be highlighted wherever possible. The CP should clearly establish priorities for benchmarking, balancing needs with comparative advantage.

b. Reflect a consensus between the country and the Bank on medium and long term objectives and on the strategy that will be set in place for its achievement, identifying the areas in which the Bank’s collaboration could be most effective in contributing to the achievement of these objectives, and provide an effective framework for the Bank’s country programming. This dialogue is a continuous process which takes place during the formulation of the strategy, and guides its implementation within cycle. To ensure effectiveness, the CP must: be primarily a focussed strategy document, not a diagnostic or macro-analytic report; it should present an integrated vision of the activities of all Bank Group entities; and it should be succinct and streamlined in style.

c. Be firmly grounded in country and sector analytic work. This requires timely collaboration among affected units of the Bank Group throughout the process, in both the regional and central departments, and effective coordination with national, regional and international organizations engaged in such work. In particular, concerted efforts will be made to coordinate our country and sector analytic work program with that of the World Bank, and with those of other development agencies, as applicable.

d. Involve stakeholders during the preparation process, and be disclosed to the public after Board approval. However, consultation with non-public sector stakeholders should not be perceived to imply negotiation of the strategy with such groups, but rather to afford an opportunity for broad dialogue on key development issues affecting the country.

e. Be synchronized with the country’s political cycle to achieve maximum synergy with the country’s own policies and strategies. Since this would imply undertaking a new CP only every 4-6 years, an appropriate updating mechanism would be put in place.

f. Facilitate an assessment of the Bank’s contribution to the development process in borrowing member countries. This will require the inclusion, in the CP, of indicators that can be monitored and later used to undertake such assessments, to the extent possible.

3. Programming Mission whose objective is to agree with the authorities of the borrowing country the Bank's operational program. The Programming Mission's elements are:

a. Programming Memorandum (PM) defines the terms of reference for the dialogue between the Bank and the local authorities in relation to the Bank's action plan for the country and the formulation of the operational program. The PM must be in line with the strategy established in the current CP. If there are changes to the defined strategy, or if the CP is not updated, a special section updating the Bank's strategy should be included.

b. Programming Mission provides an opportunity for in-depth discussion with the authorities concerning the Bank's role in the socioeconomic development process of a country and/or subregion, an opportunity for a development policy dialogue, an opportunity to review the status of actions that were agreed to between the Borrower and Country Office during the process of country portfolio assessment, and for an agreement with those authorities as to an operational program.

c. Programming Mission Report (PMR) identifies the results of the programming mission and includes the operational program agreed upon with the borrowing country's authorities. The PMR can be the Aide Memoire that outlines agreements made during the mission.


Prevailing Reference Documents:
TAPOMA, October 1993
AB-1704, August 1994
GN-1838-1, July 1994
EVP Instructive (PC Mail H1B34988), November 1993)
"Proceso de Programación por País" document, approved by Coordination Committee, April 1995.
GN-2020-6, March 2003.


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