Summary: The purpose of this paper is to assess the Tacis programme thirteen years after its inception. Using a combination of economic and social indicators, the paper shows the very high cost of the transition from a centrally planned to a market economy in the case of the thirteen Tacis countries. The paper is divided into three parts. The first part gives a general description of the transition to a market economy in the Tacis countries, highlighting the lead role played by the IMF, at a time when the minds of its economists and executive directors were perhaps the key component of what was soon to be known as the Washington consensus. It underscores the unfairness and inefficiency of the privatisation process. Most state enterprises were privatised before they were restructured and ended up in the hands of their former managers, the u0091new oligarchsu0092. The paper also lays emphasis on the adverse effects of the opening of capital markets in the absence of an appropriate regulatory framework. Russia and many other Tacis countries became capital exporters, not a position to be in when one is going through major economic restructuring. It looks at the effects of the transition programmes on poverty and inequality. The second part is more analytical in nature. Its aim is to assess whether Tacis may actually have ended up making the transition process longer than it need have been. It shows how technical assistance programmes which were conceived for the developing world were not adapted to meet the quite different needs of the countries of the former Soviet Union. The paper expresses doubts as to the appropriateness, from the recipientsu0092 point of view, of putting so many resources into the energy sector and so little into social infrastructure. It looks closely at the teething problems experienced by the Tacis programme. The implementation of the programme was hampered by a lack of human resources which translated into inordinately long procedures and delays, including delayed payments for contractors. There w
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