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June 30, 1995

Sudan: Gezira Rehabilitation Project (Credit 1388-SU)

The Implementation Completion Report (ICR) on the Sudan Gezira Rehabilitation project (Credit 1388-SU, approved in FY83) was prepared by the FAO/World Bank Cooperative Programme and the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office. The Borrower contributed to the ICR by preparing a Project Completion Report.

This comprehensive project, designed to rehabilitate the Region's largest irrigation project, was prepared in FY81 and FY82. Effectiveness was delayed two years by a search for cofinancing, eventually contributed by the Arab and Saudi Funds for Development, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom. The project's 20 components included the: improvement of the Gezira irrigation, drainage, and pumping systems; rehabilitation of the infrastructure including roads, communication network, railway, staff housing, and ginneries; provision of critical inputs such as farm machinery; improvement of farmer training, research, and extension; and support to improve health through schistosomiasis control and sanitary systems.

Project implementation was complicated by suspension of lending by the Arab and Saudi Funds and subsequently by IDA when the borrower did not service its debt. After Arab and Saudi funding were suspended, IDA agreed to reallocate its credit to complete the rehabilitation of the aging Sennar Dam, but this work had not been completed when the IDA credit was canceled with about 11 percent undisbursed. However, many major works and programs were completed, including, at half of estimated cost, the successful control of schistosomiasis, a debilitating and ultimately lethal liver disease, and drinking water programs. In contrast, dam rehabilitation, canal cleaning and rehabilitation of structures to regulate water flow in the canals were not implemented and road, telecommunications and ginnery renovation each proved several times more costly than anticipated. Studies cost US$25 million, ten times the appraisal estimates.

Benefits were far below expectations. Area and cropping intensity grew only modestly. Plagued by uncontrollable infestations of white flies, by low prices paid by the government monopoly purchasing agency, and by economic distortions, farmers switched their land and efforts from cotton to lower-valued food crops. Nevertheless, owing to Gezira's immense sunk costs, the ICR's re-estimate of the economic internal rate of return—19 percent—and its rating of project outcome as satisfactory are plausible. The Operations Evaluation Department (OED) endorses them. The ICR rates sustainability as likely. However, owing to non-implemented works, canal siltation, weed growth, and the decrepitude of the Sennar Dam, OED rates sustainability as uncertain. Though the principal project institution has ceased to exist, cost recovery is far below public operation and maintenance costs, and important works were not completed or started, the ICR rates institutional development as substantial. OED considers negligible more appropriate. In agreement with the ICR, OED rates all aspects of IDA and Borrower performance as satisfactory, although inadequate preparation of some components is noted.



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