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Cote d'Ivoire: Abidjan Environmental Protection Project (Loan 3155-IVC)

The Implementation Completion Report (ICR) on the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Environmental Protection Project (Loan 3155-IVC, approved in FY90), prepared by the Africa Regional Office, was reviewed by the Operations Evaluation Department (OED). The loan, in the amount of US$21.9 million, was extended twice so that works could be completed; the closing date shifted from December 31, 1993 to December 31, 1995. The final project cost was US$42.4 million (US$7.5 million below the SAR estimate of US$49.9 million). US$2.2 million of the original loan amount was canceled. The European Investment Bank cofinanced US$17.9 million equivalent. Both the cofinancier and the borrower provided comments.

The primary objective of the project was to reverse the degradation of the Abidjan urban aquatic environment caused by the dumping of urban wastes and industrial effluents into the Ebri‚ lagoon. This was to be achieved by constructing and using an ocean outfall (a large pipe which runs out to sea, and releases treated sewerage into favorable ocean currents so that it dilutes and disperses without impacts to the coastal zone). The project included four major components: (a) building waste water disposal facilities; (b) establishing sound environmental regulations; (c) monitoring pollution; and (d) ensuring the financial and operational sustainability of the sewerage system. Physical works included the construction of an ocean sewerage outfall (with the necessary diffuser, traps and screening plant); and construction of sewer lines/conduits for connecting industrial zones and residential areas to the main culvert and the outfall. The project also supported a range of activities leading to the development of a comprehensive Master Plan for the protection of the Abidjan environment.

Environmental objectives have been largely achieved: the ocean outfall is expected to reduce the organic pollution of the lagoon by 80 percent (but it will take time before monitoring results show improvements). About 174,000 inhabitants (compared to an appraisal estimate of 140,000) and industrial units of the Port area representing an additional 220,000 equivalent-inhabitants were connected to the interceptor. Civil works were delayed by more than a year so that odor-suppression equipment could be installed. The project's financial objectives were only partly achieved: cost recovery from the users has been adequate, but revenues collected by Treasury were not transferred to the National Water Fund (contrary to the financial covenants of the Loan Agreement). The ICR re-estimated the economic rate of return at 12 percent (15.4 percent was expected in the SAR) and the net present value_computed with a discount rate of 10 percent_ is CFA franc 2.5 billion (compared with the appraisal estimate of CFA franc 7.7 billion); implementation delays reduced benefits and kept property values around the lagoon from increasing as expected. The achievement of the institutional development objectives was also incomplete because the Master Plan was not actualized, the pilot on-site sanitation component was not executed as expected, and sector coordination did not occur entirely as planned. Still, operational responsibilities have been streamlined and privatized, and although the new regulatory framework has not been enacted yet, draft regulations were developed.

OED rates the project's outcome as satisfactory, its sustainability as likely, its institutional development impact as moderate, and Bank performance as satisfactory. These ratings are consistent with those in the ICR.

In addition to the lessons on water tariff surcharges, project conditionality, disbursement and contract packaging detailed in the document, lessons learned suggested by this project center on the environment. First, projects that attempt to upgrade the environment in severely degraded areas can achieve significant impacts provided that comprehensive facilities combined with appropriate regulatory reform are included. Secondly, environmental assessments should always have mitigation plans, and these should take into account the potential negative impacts of civil works (as well as operations)_even for projects which are trying to improve the environment_especially when construction is taking place in densely settled urban areas.

The ICR is of good quality. The borrower did not prepare the future operations plan, but it is expected soon. The project may be audited at a later date.

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