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         West Mitidja Irrigation

The Algeria West Mitidja Irrigation project, supported by Loan 3076-AL for US$110.0 million, was approved in FY90. The loan was closed on June 30, 1997 one year late, after two extensions. A total of US$68.0 million was canceled. Because of the security situation in Algeria, no supervision was possible after September 1993. For the same reason the Implementation Completion Report (ICR), drafted by the FAO/World Bank Cooperative Programme (FAO/CP) was prepared from the project files.

No input or comments were received from the borrower.

The primary objective of the project was to complete an existing irrigation system. It was also intended to strengthen local and national irrigation institutions (including newly created farmers' groups); expand policy and institutional changes with respect to 0&M and cost recovery; and seek sustainable solutions to environmental issues related to development of the area. The project had four major components: (a) water resource development, including a diversion and pipeline; (b) irrigation, drainage and road development involving a pressurized distribution system on 14,000 ha. and a surface drainage system in 15,800 ha.; (c) on-farm development in these areas, including sprinkler and drip irrigation, orchards and greenhouses and supplementary buildings and equipment; and (d) institutional development involving strengthening the implementing authorities and assisting the National Institute for Plant Protection to prepare a fertilizer and pest management plan.

None of these objectives was achieved. In 1993 the security situation began to deteriorate and by 1994 it was necessary for most of the foreign contractors, consulting firms and technical assistance to leave the country. The civil works contracts were terminated before any of the major works had been completed. Planned initial studies on strengthening the irrigation agency, protecting groundwater resources and preparation of a fertilizer and pest management plan were undertaken but, as far as is known, no follow-up has been undertaken. Additional problems were encountered in implementation, including time consuming administrative and procurement procedures, and loosely drawn contract documentation led to many contractual disputes. Organizational/financial arrangements for the 0&M of existing schemes have not improved. No ERR was estimated for the project at closing.

The Operations Evaluation Department (OED) agrees with the ICR ratings of the project outcome as highly unsatisfactory, sustainability as unlikely, institutional development as negligible, and Bank performance as satisfactory.

Given the inability to undertake an in-country completion mission and the non-cooperation of the borrower, the ICR contains no forward-looking elements, but is otherwise satisfactory. Because of the overwhelming impact of the collapse in security on project implementation, there are no significant lessons to be drawn from the experience.

No audit is planned.

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