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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Transport Sector Technical Assistance Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Transport Sector Technical Assistance Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 8.3  6.58
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 5.2  4.85
Sector, Major Sect.:
Urban Transport,
Cofinancing (US $M)
 3.1  1.73
L/C Number:
L3777; LP240      
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Government of Gabon, Agence Francaise de Development 
Closing Date
09/30/1997 03/31/2000
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Binyam Reja
John H. Johnson Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The project objectives as stated in the Memorandum and Recommendation of the President were five-fold:

  1. strengthen the institutional management capacity in the Borrower's transport and urban sectors;
  2. establish a transport sector strategy and an investment plan, including the promotion of improved sector efficiency, increased competition, reduction of transport costs and the decrease in subsidies to public enterprises in the transport sector;
  3. prepare the urban sector restructuring plan;
  4. establish an urban development strategy and investment plan aimed at improving urban investment planning, urban budgeting, management of existing infrastructure in Libreville and urban land tenure system; and
  5. execute an urban infrastructure improvement program in Libreville using labor-based methods.

b. Components
The project comprised the following components:

  • Setting Sector Strategies through a serious of studies and participatory seminars.
  • Support to the Transport Sector for (a) institutional Development; (b) a series of studies and seminars for the formulation of the strategy and investment programs in the railways, transit and maritime transport, river transport and inland shipping, civil aviation, road infrastructure, road transport, and the environment.
  • Support to the Urban Sector for making urban development priorities an integral part of the national economic and budgetary decision making process; identifying institutional, financial and technical measures for improving urban management; strengthening the ministry's oversight capacity to mange sector studies; and prepare an urban infrastructure investment program.
  • Technical Assistance, Training and Seminars. A total of 27 studies and 13 seminars were initially identified to implement the above components to support the transport and urban sectors.

Revised Components:
At the Mid-term review, it was determined that the original structure of the project studies and support activities were too complex and needed more focus to achieve the basic objective of defining sector strategies and investment plans. Accordingly, the program for both transport and urban sectors were simplified and consolidated In addition, the name of the project was changed from Transport Sector Technical Assistance Projects (PATRANS) to Project for the Adjustment and Planning of the Urban And Transport Sectors (PAPSUT) to reflect its intervention and strategic goals in both transport and urban sectors.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
The project was approved on July 7, 1994 and closed on March 31, 2000 versus the original closing date of September 30, 1997. The actual cost and loan amount of the project were respectively US$6.58 million and US$4.85 million as to compared to the appraisal estimates of US$8.3 million and US$5.2 million.

In FY99, Gabon was confronted with a fiscal crisis due to a drop in oil and timber prices, resulting in the shortage of counterpart funding and in the Bank covering 100% financing of certain expense categories.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The project achieved most of its objectives, with the individual objectives having the following results:
1. The objectives of strengthening the institutional management capacity in transport and urban sectors was largely achieved on the account of (i) the transfer of knowledge and methodologies through collaboration of the various consultants and government officials and NGOS, (ii) the establishment of an institutional mechanism for a more rational sector planning and management, and improved inter-ministerial cooperation.
2. The objectives of establishing transport sector strategy and investment plan was achieved with the successful completion if the various modal studies, the organizational studies of technical ministries, the inter-modal transport master plan, and the government's declaration of Transport Policy.
3. The objective of preparing the urban sector strategy and investment plan was achieved with the relevant sub-sector studies and overall strategy document having been completed.
4. The objective of executing an urban infrastructure improvement program in Libreville using labor-based methods has been fully achieved, with the physical works of the pilot project having been completed.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The significant outcomes of the project were the :
  • establishment of coherent sector strategies in the transport and urban sectors,
  • the establishment of the Inter-Modal Transport Sector Master Plan (1998-2015);
  • introduction of employment generating labor-based infrastructure improvement methods; and
  • concessioning of the Trans-Gabon Railway Company to the private sector.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

The project did not achieve the following key policy objectives:
  • establishing an independent funding mechanism for road maintenance;
  • implementing the recommendations from the studies to reorganize the technical ministries; and
  • developing environmental assessment guidelines.
  • 6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
    Institutional Dev.:
      The institutional achievements with respect to the concessioning of the railways and the preparation of the Master Plan and sector strategy papers warrants a rating of "substantial" for the project's institutional development.
    Bank Performance:
    Borrower Perf.:
    Quality of ICR:

    7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

    The ICR identifies the following lessons with broad applicability:
    1. It is more effective to develop overall sector strategies and investment plans by first carrying out a limited number of specialized and focused analyses of sub-sector issues.
    2. A participatory approach to prepare sector strategies requires much time and resources.
    3. Policy reform should be accompanied by investment packages to leverage Bank's assistance to effect policy reforms.

    8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

              Why?  To assess the experience with the railway concessioning and other sector reforms.

    9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The ICR is satisfactory and covers the main issues related to the project implementation experience and outcome of the project.

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