Independent Evaluation - Home > Search

Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Cultural Heritage Project

1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
Project Name:
Cultural Heritage Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 5.51  5.92
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 5.00  5.13
Sector, Major Sect.:
Central government administration, Other social services,
Law and justice and public administration; Health and other social services
Cofinancing (US $M)
 0.00  .28
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/2003 03/31/2005
Evaluator: Panel Reviewer: Division Manager: Division:  
Kristin S. Little
Ronald S. Parker Alain A. Barbu IEGSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives

The overall aim of this Learning and Innovation Loan (LIL) was to assist the government of Mauritania (GoM) in testing procedures to efficiently and adequately preserve and promote its cultural heritage, through, inter alia:
(i) the establishment of a participatory process leading to the formulation of a coherent national cultural heritage preservation strategy and the promotion of policy conducive to poverty alleviation and equitable economic development;
(ii) the strengthening of central, regional and local administrative capacity to manage the preservation of existing, and the encouragement of new, cultural manifestations; and
(iii) the development of preservation methods and encouragement to revive and create artistic expressions.

b. Components (or Key Conditions in the case of Adjustment Loans):

(i) Strengthening National and Local Institutions (Estimated cost: US$0.43 million; actual cost: US$1.10 million). Strengthen administrative capacity; define a cultural-heritage policy; draft regulations; enhance coordination and cohesion of cultural institutions; strengthen local institutions; evaluate cultural values systems; and establish cultural heritage fund.
(ii) Testing of activities for Preserving and Enhancing Manifestations of Cultural Heritage (Estimated cost: US$2.90 million; actual cost: US$3.11 million). Pilot activities: protection and accessibility of ancient manuscripts; preservation of archeological sites and ancient cities; promotion of cultural tourism; promotion of handicraft; strengthening of “living” arts; and information campaigns.
(iii) Implementation of the Initial Program of Selected Pilot Activities (Estimated cost: US$0.60 million; actual cost: US$0.55 million). First inventories of archives, communication campaigns to alert beneficiaries, safeguarding of prehistoric sites, publication of selected ancient manuscripts, awareness campaigns for tourists, and a national fair for artisans.
(iv) Artisanal Subprojects (Estimated cost: US$0.63 million; actual cost: US$0.00). Provide credits to selected artisans and artisanal associations for the carrying out of subprojects pertaining to, inter alia, the design, quality enhancement, revival, manufacturing and marketing of artisanal artifacts (e.g., construction of four regional centers for the Craftsmen Savings and Loan Bank).
(v) Project Management and Supervision (Estimated cost: US$0.45 million; actual cost: US$0.54 million).

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates

The project was extended 16 months, partly because the project lacked a TTL for one year, following the departure of the initial TTL. The project implementation delays resulted in an unsatisfactory rating in implementation performance prior to midterm review. Following midterm, components were rearranged and repackaged into easier to understand targets, facilitating stakeholder mobilization, implementation, monitoring, and communication.

The project generated over US$1 million in additional funds. The GoM provided US$510,000 in counterpart funds, plus US$100,000 for works at the Adrar Museum in Atar. After approval, USAID provided US$37,000 in cofinancing for the Tichitt and Selibaby houses of manuscripts, and the project mobilized several external partners—the UNESCO World Heritage Center (US$72,000); the France-UNESCO Convention (US$36,000); the World Heritage Fund (US$36,000); the External Relations and Cooperation Section of UNESCO (US$10,000); UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Division (US$20,000); SCAC (the French diplomatic chancellery's cooperation and cultural outreach services) (US$140,000); and private donors (US$100,000).

3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

Relevance of objectives and design is rated substantial. The project provided support to the promotion of cultural heritage at the specific request of the GoM, which had proven its expressed commitment to the issue by organizing a national conference for the promotion of cultural heritage. In addition, the project was tied to CAS goals of broad based growth and natural resource management. The project also promoted social cohesion and sustainable economic development. Project design, while relevant, did suffer at start-up from a lack of specialized expertise. Some components turned out to be more ambitious than originally thought.

4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

Overall, efficacy is rated substantial, based on the level of achievement of the project objectives, as follows:
(i) establishing a participatory process leading to the formulation of a cultural heritage policy (Substantial);
(ii) strengthening administrative capacity (Substantial); and
(iii) development of preservation methods and encouragement to revive and create artistic expressions (Substantial).
Though some of the individual activities, such as microcredit for handicrafts and the rehabilitation of heritage assets in the four cities, were not implemented, the majority were implemented successfully, with the ultimate objective of assisting the GoM in testing procedures to preserve and promote its cultural heritage being substantially met.

5. Efficiency:

Efficiency is rated substantial. Though economic analysis was not conducted at appraisal because of the loan type and nature of the project, it is clear that the modest investment produced broad and significant results. Jobs were created from its contribution to tourism development, artisanal crafts, the development of ancient cities, and cultural events. Notably, the 2004 Festival of Nomad Music, funded by the project and by the private sector in 2004, was then continued in 2005 without project funds.
6. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

The project design summary, Annex 1 of the PAD, outlines clear objectives, performance indicators, and assumptions. However, there is no report on the achievement of the monitoring and evaluation criteria outlined, or discussion of the M&E process in the ICR. Though monitoring and evaluation was not explicitly discussed in the ICR, mention was made of two institutional audits, and the fact that, at midterm, a reorganization/repackaging of project activities into easier to understand targets led to better monitoring and communication around the project activities.

7. Other (Safeguards, Fiduciary, Unintended Impacts--Positive & Negative):

No safeguard or unintended impacts were noted in the ICR.

8. Ratings:
ICR Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.: 
Bank Perf.: 
SatisfactorySatisfactoryWhile project design was ambitious, and specialized knowledge would have helped to avoid difficulties with certain activities, such as the preservation of archaeological sites, the project was successfully revived at midterm.
Borrower Perf.: 
Quality of ICR: 

- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- ICR rating values flagged with ' * ' don't comply with OP/BP 13.55, but are listed for completeness.

9. Lessons:

  • For some topics (like cultural heritage) where the Bank a shortage of specialized expertise, even flexible, innovative, and relatively small projects like LILs need to be sure to include knowledgeable specialists, especially during preparation. Without such preparation, projects stand to suffer delays, and a create a dangerous lack of confidence, presenting a reputational risk not only to the project, but to the Bank as well.
  • Close involvement of external partners can play a critical role in the success of specialized projects, such as this cultural heritage loan, through the provision of technical expertise, capacity building, and continued funding. In this case, these elements contributed substantially to the sustainability of the cultural heritage gains made during project implementation.
  • In a multi-ethnic country like Mauritania, support to the living arts can play an important role in social cohesion. Relatively small investments in events targeting specific segments of the population brought the participants a sense of recognition at the national level, as well as an important expression of membership of the same culture

10. Assessment Recommended?  No


11. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR is rated satisfactory, but only marginally so. It far exceeds the length requirement for an ICR and fails to rate the achievement of the specific objectives and components, giving only a general rating. It also contains inconsistencies regarding cofinancing. The document has extreme variation in quality from section to section. For example, while section 5 (Major Factors Affecting Implementation and Outcome) and section 8 (Lessons) are well organized and thoughtful, section 4 (Achievement of Objectives and Outputs) is exceedingly vague and extremely difficult to understand. In addition, the document contains a striking number of grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors.

© 2012 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved. Terms and Conditions