Internal review

The role and effectiveness of SECO cooperation in business environment reform

Independent Evaluation

Claes Lindahl Andreja Marŭsić Mikael Söderbäck
2011 Serbia Europe business environment Download as PDF (1.4 MB)


for market systems approaches

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Published by
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Project implementer
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Results level
Systemic change
Observational / Qualitative
Data source
Secondary data
Intervention type
Improved access to information

The report assesses the role and efficacy of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO's) cooperation in Business Environment Reform (BER). The study reviews the results of SECO projects which contribute to reducing costs of doing business and barriers to competition as well as provides recommendations for future business environment improvement projects.

Main findings:

  • The assessment concluded that there is an overall positive degree of relevance in SECO's work with business development reform with 75% of the projects in SECO's portfolio considered to be satisfactory or highly satisfactory in relevance
  • While the majority of projects show evidence of contributing to improvements in the business environment, results relating to the outcome of implemented reforms are mixed
  • The portfolio of projects had a mixed result of effectiveness with slightly over 50% of projects rated satisfactory or highly satisfactory in effectiveness
  • The portfolio is efficient overall, with over 80% of the rated projects judged as satisfactory or highly satisfactory in efficiency
  • Nearly 80% of the portfolio had a satisfactory or highly satisfactory rating in sustainability
  • Although the report lacks strong assessment of costs and cost-effectiveness, slightly more than 50% of the portfolio of projects were rated as reasonably cost-effective.

Intervention description

SECO projects in the portfolio varied in intervention techniques. However, projects aimed to reduce costs of doing business and support partner countries in sustainable and environmentally friendly economic development. 

Evidence methodology

This report utilized four methodologies:

  • A review of secondary data collected via evaluations and mid-term reviews of 19 SECO projects
  • A case study of Serbia with focus on SECO funded Business Environment Reform projects
  • A literature review to identify current best practices and trends of Business Environment Reform
  • A review of literature of Business Environment Reform produced by donor agencies.

Useful for:

Anyone interested in the market systems approach, specifically focused on business environment reform. This might include potential investors, development practitioners, policy-makers and current programmes that may have interest in partnering with SECO.