Failure of development programmes

Failure of development projects
Ineffectiveness of development programmes
Failure of development bank programmes
Limited programme impact
1. In the case of Africa, where the World Bank has been most active, in 1994 an optimistic review of development programmes sponsored by it was criticized as utterly contradicting the experience of people in the countries in question. In its previous review in 1989 it had called for a growth in sub-Saharan economies by 4.5% per year, whilst accepting that in comparison with past performance this seemed highly ambitious. The 1994 report called for a growth rate of 4.7% to ensure a modest improvement of living standards, especially amongst the poorest. This was itself far in excess of the 0.8% growth rate of the 1980s and even of the 3.3% projected for the period to the year 2000. The report accepted that even the best performing countries of Africa would not significantly reduce poverty over the following 20-30 years, with the average poor man unable to cross the poverty line for another 50 years.

2. It should be noted that in spite of the praiseworthy efforts made in the last two decades by the more developed or developing nations and the international organizations to find a way out of the situation, or at least to remedy some of its symptoms, the conditions have become notably worse. Responsibility for this deterioration is due to various causes. Notable among them are undoubtedly grave instances of omissions on the part of the developing nations themselves, and especially on the part of those holding economic and political power. Nor can we pretend not to see the responsibility of the developed nations, which have not always, at least in due measure, felt the duty to help countries separated from the affluent world to which they themselves belong. Moreover, one must denounce the existence of economic, financial and social mechanisms which, although they are manipulated by people, often function almost automatically, thus accentuating the situation of wealth for some and poverty for the rest. These mechanisms, which are maneuvered directly or indirectly by the more developed countries, by their very functioning favor the interests of the people manipulating them at in the end they suffocate or condition the economies of the less developed countries. (Papal Encyclical, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 30 December 1987)

In the case of the World Bank, whose programmes have been severely criticized, its standards are stringent. If a project does not have an economic rate of return of at least 10%, it is judged unsatisfactory. Such unsatisfactory performance would however be considered quite acceptable using different standards. Furthermore, in many cases projects that failed to achieve an acceptable rate of return have nevertheless been of considerable value to the borrowing countries through institution building and other benefits.
(F) Fuzzy exceptional problems