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UNDP Activities in the Sahel

Before discussing the individual country programmes, we should note a few common aspects of UNDP's activities in the Sahel. First, planning for the third cycle was based on an "illustrative IPF" that assumed that the total resources of UNDP would be $6,500 million instead of $4,000 million. Second, UNDP has learned from experience that a substantial amount of each country's IPF should be left as unprogrammed reserve, to be used for new activities in the latter part of the programming cycle. The minimum amount to be withheld for this reserve is 20 per cent, but, given the current status of contributions, none of this will become available. Another 15-25 per cent of the IPF is earmarked by sector, with the detailed projects to be worked out at a later stage. Again, most of these funds will be withheld. Finally, .the third-cycle country programmes for the Sahelian countries were delayed for one year so that UNDP's efforts could be tied in with the medium-term plans of CILSS and the individual countries. Hence the third cycle for the Sahelian countries covers only 1983-1986, with 1982 treated more as an extension of the second programming cycle.

Along with UNDPs rationalization of funding have come efforts to better co~ordinate activities. Given the overall direction provided by Cl LSS and the Club du Sahel, and the similarity of problems among the seven countries covered in this report, one might expect UNDP's country programmes in the Sahel to bear more resemblance to each other than any comparable group of developing countries. In fact, these tendencies of convergence have been consciously pushed through meetings of the UNDP Resident Co-ordinators in the Sahel. In January 1981, for example, it was agreed that five topics selected by the countries of the Sahel would form the framework for the country programmes: (1) food selfsufficiency, (2) water management, (3) development of the Saheiian region, including environmental protection, development of wooded areas, desertification control, and human settlements, (4) diversification of the Sahelian economies, and (5) human resources/training. It may be noted that these categories actually exclude very little, although they may be somewhat indicative of priorities. These categories are also impractical for comparative or statistical purposes, for UNDP projects are classified according to a UN-wide classification system agreed on by the Administrative Committee for Co-ordination. Unfortunately this system has been subject to various modifications, and so direct comparisons by sector between years or UNDP programming cycles are usually misleading.

Burkina Faso (Upper Volta)

In 1972 Upper Volta approved a five-year plan calling for investments of $270 million by 1976. Three - uarters of this $270 million was to be financed by public or external credits. A number of projects within the plan were earmarked for UNDP support and became the 1972-1976 country programme (UNDP 19739). Of the $10.7 million IPF, 38 per cent was to be used for rural development, 23 per cent for natural resources (mainly mineral exploration and secondarily water resources management), 22 per cent for human resources (primarily education and training), and 15 per cent for industry. Overall, the country programme was significant for the large number of projects 146), over half of which cost less than $50,000, and for the heavy emphasis on expenditures in the first three years (UNDP 19739).

The implementation of these activities encountered more than the usual share of problems, partially because of the large number of projects. The problems were fairly typical -delays in both the approval of projects and their execution, lack of supporting infrastructure, and occasionally a lack of data. Small projects, such as fellowships and consultancies, seemed to suffer more (UNDP 19779).

Presumably this was because they required nearly as much administrative work as the larger projects but internally were given lower priority.

The second programme cycle (1977-1981) also was designed to coincide with Upper Volta's next five-year plan. First priority was given to the development of water supplies in the rural sector, with education and training also being emphasized. In general, UNDP funds were to be used for activities that would stimulate further investments (UNDP 19779).

The IPF for 1977-1981 more than doubled, to $23.75 million,while $1.1 million was subtracted for previous overspending and $836,000 was added from the fund for least - developed countries. Almost 13 per cent of the IPF was held as a reserve, with the remainder being allocated among rural development (29 per cent), human resources (24 per cent), industry (22 per cent), and infrastructure (13 per cent). Major projects in the rural-development sector included assistance to the relevant government departments, an integrated ruraldevelopment project, support for an irrigated-crops experimental centre, and a forestry project involving training and reforestation. Large-scale mining surveys constituted half of the planned expenditures in the industry sector.

The second country programme for Upper Volta was unusual in that fellowship and short-term consultancies were grouped, with funds to be drawn as needed. The allocation for fellowships was $1 million, for miscellaneous consultancies $290,000, and for UN Volunteers $465,000. This procedure was designed to simplify the administrative work and maximize flexibility. The soundness of this approach is indicated by a similar procedure being adopted for the third cycle (UNDP 1982h).

The illustrative IPF for the third country programme was set at $55 million. After subtracting 20 per cent as a reserve and $7.5 million for 1982, $36.5 million was left. A positive balance of $373,000 from 1977-1981 and an addition of $486,000 from the fund for least-developed countries meant that a total of $37.4 million was available for programming. Of this, nearly half was to be used for ongoing projects and 10 per cent was to be held for future projects, leaving only $15 million available for "new" activities.

The emphasis for 1983-1986 is heavily on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Together these are allocated 40 per cent of the funds available. Most of the projects are ongoing, including work on a soils institute, an animaltraction project, agricultural extension, etc. Natural resource development accounts for 18 per cent of the thirdcycle funds, with most of the money being used for water development and the Sahel-wide strengthening of agro-meteorology and hydrology. Primary health care will account for about 10 per cent of the UNDP programme, while education, employment, industry, and general development issues are each allocated less than 7 per cent (UNDP 1982h).


The first country programme for Chad allocated $7.5 million for 1972-1976. Another $2.6 million became available because of Chad's status as a least-developed country (LDC) and its susceptibility to drought. The UNDP country programme was formulated in concordance with Chad's 1971-1980 development plan, but this plan was subsequently modified and then rejected. As might be expected, agriculture was the dominant sector in the first UNDP country programme, accounting for 42 per cent of the IPF, with the ongoing rural development project in the Ouaddai requiring nearly half of the funds for this sector. Another 28 per cent of the funds for agriculture have been used for well-drilling activities, since only one-fifth of an estimated 10,000 needed wells have been drilled to date. The remaining funds for agriculture were divided among a miscellaneous collection of projects concerned with livestock development, market gardening, wildlife, price policy, reforestation, etc. Major projects in other sectors included retraining of primary-school teachers, support of an economic planning team, and industry/mining projects (UNDP 1971).

The IPF for 1977-1981 was increased to $19 million, with an additional $860,000 being carried over from 1972-1976 and $322,000 available from the fund for LDCs. In introducing the country programme, UNDP emphasized the lack of trained manpower, the inability of the government to provide anything but the most minimal of counterpart assistance, and the lack of infrastructure. UNDP also noted that it has proved extremely difficult to recruit experts and consultants, with some posts remaining vacant for over two years (UNDP 1977a).

The country programme called for about one-fourth of the UNDP funds to be used for agriculture and about 10 per cent each for industrial promotion, health, geological services, planning, education, a rural water supply project, and programme reserve. Civil unrest, however, caused a complete cessation of activities and a drastic restructuring of assistance when the UNDP office was reopened in 1981. Substitute projects included repair of the airport, a ferry to provide an essential transport link, support of the central electricity generating plant, as well as the distribution of foodstuffs and control of animal diseases. However, continuing civil war forced many of these projects to be abandoned or delayed. Altogether only 40 per cent of the funds allocated for 1977-1981 were actually spent.

For 1982-1986 the illustrative IPF for Chad was $52 million. After the $8 million left over from the second cycle was added in and adjustment was made for the required reserve and the shortened cycle, nearly $47 million was to have been available. Noting the exceptional need for infrastructure and basic food production, UNDP has adjusted its projects to provide more support costs and require less in terms of counterpart assistance. Six million dollars was to be devoted to ongoing projects, with most of this for emergency relief, administrative support for relief operations, and continuing support of Chadians studying overseas who have been unable to return. New projects cover nearly all aspects of the development spectrum but are essentially oriented towards putting Chad back on its feet. In recognition of the political and climatic fluctuations in Chad, a full $15 million (32 per cent) was set aside as an unprogrammed reserve, as well as $11 million (25 per cent) allocated by sector for projects to be formulated later (UNDP 1983). The sporadic political unrest in Chad suggests that UNDP will have to maintain a flexible approach, and that some funds will be diverted to shortterm or emergency relief.

The Gambia

The IPF for the Gambia was set at $500,000 per year for 1972-1976, but the first country programme was established only in time to cover the last three years of this period. At the time the country programme was formulated, the Gambia had not yet developed a comprehensive national plan; instead investments were guided by the third capital expenditure programme. Agriculture and fisheries projects, together with infrastructure, development planning, and administration, accounted for 80 per cent of the funds allocated (UNDP 1973a). With regard to infrastructure, the two main projects were (1) to develop inshore fisheries and (2) to experiment with fodder crops and establish a pilot irrigated farm to fatten livestock.

The second country programme, which was to guide expenditures for 1977-1981, included severe criticism of the first country programme. The development efforts were characterized as fragmented, and it was noted that all but one of the projects were concentrated in the area around Banjul, the capital. Project design was not very satisfactory, with unrealistic targets and timing leading to extensive revisions. Expenditures exceeded the IPF by 28 per cent. This over-expenditure, combined with UNDP's financial crisis in 1975, made it necessary for the Gambia to lend UNDP $300,000 in order to continue a number of the UNDP projects (UNDP 1977b).

Hence, the country programme for 1977-1981, after the subtraction of $618,000 for the over-expenditure in 19721976 and the addition of special allocations for Gambia's leastdeveloped-country status, totalled $6.74 million.

Increased awareness of the possibilities of drought and a desire for greater flexibility resulted in $1 25 million (18.5 per cent) of the IPF being set aside as a reserve, compared with just $54,000 in the previous programme. As in Chad, the lack of trained manpower rather than the unavailability of funds is seen as the major constraint to development. This shortage is exacerbated by the fact that some individuals trained with UNDP assistance either have not returned to the Gambia or have been assigned functions unrelated to their training (UNDP 1977b).

Of the projects planned for 1977-1981, 16 were ongoing and only 6 were new. Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries were allocated only 22 per cent of the IPF, although rural development was supposed to be emphasized, The primary projects in the agricultural sector were concerned with inshore fisheries and agricultural marketing/farm management. General economic and social planning was considered of primary importance and was allocated more than a quarter of the budget, while 18 per cent was set aside as a reserve and the remaining 34 per cent was scattered over eight different sectors. Overall the programme was consistent with the general trend in UNDP towards fewer and larger projects (chap. 5).

For 1982-1986 the illustrative planning figure was doubled to $14.25 million. However, more than $1 million had to be subtracted to cover a 17 per cent overrun in the second planning cycle, and 20 per cent was designated as a reserve. Since the 1977-1981 programme was extended for an additional year in order to put UNDP's third planning cycle in phase with the government's planning cycles, the total amount available for programming was $10.7 million. UNDP planning was also influenced by the Gambian government's shift in emphasis from building up infrastructure to investment in directly productive ventures. As in the other Sahelian countries, 85 per cent of the investment capital required in the government's development plan was expected to come from outside.

In keeping with these considerations, one-third of the immediately available UNDP resources will be devoted to agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Projects include the development of sheep and goat husbandry, reduction of postharvest losses, and the development of a planning, programming, and monitoring unit within the ministry of agriculture. In the natural resources sector, 19 per cent of UNDP's contribution will be allocated to an ongoing welldrilling project and a long-term effort to develop the Gambia's hydrological and meteorological capabilities. A similar amount is being devoted to development planning, including a joint project with the World Bank to establish a management development institute. Just 5 per cent ($470,000) is being devoted directly to education, while assistance to vocational training and the provision of business services is 8 per cent of the IPF. Eighteen per cent of the IPF is being held for activities that will be formulated later (UNDP 1982c).


The IPF was set at $10 million for 1972-1976, but, as in the case of the Gambia, a country programme was available only for the last three years of this period. Since $6 million had already been spent in the first two years (1972-1973) and there were some thirty projects underway, the country programme was basically just a continuation of existing activities. Plans were made to reduce expenditures from over $2 million in 1974 to $300,000 in 1976, but this was not achieved, resulting in a total overspending of $2.19 million. Although the very high rate of expenditure in the first two years should never have occurred, once that had happened, the resultant overspending was justified by the need to keep the major long-term projects operating (UNDP 1977c). Some additional funds were provided because of Mali's status as both an LDC and a drought - stricken country, but these were used to initiate new projects.

In sectoral terms the 1974-1976 programme concentrated on education and training, especially at the post-secondary level. Agricultural projects received 24 per cent of the IPF, but efforts were concentrated on improving the national body responsible for marketing livestock and meat (UNDP 1973c).

Nearly 10 per cent of the 1977-1981 IPF of $24 million had to be subtracted to cover the $2.1 million debt incurred in 19751976. In addition, the large number of ongoing projects absorbed virtually all the resources available in the first two years of the second cycle. Thus, new activities could begin only in 1979, and these accounted for just about 20 per cent of the IPF. This meant that only $375,000, or less than 2 per cent of the IPF, could be set aside as a token reserve.

Agriculture was dominant in the 1977-1981 plan, with two livestock production and marketing projects totalling $3.2 million, a $2.3 million project to support seed-producing centres, and two studies costing $1.2 million each to prepare rural development plans. The largest single project in the programme was for the drilling of 2,000 wells and associated activities. Altogether, the agricultural projects accounted for 60 per cent of the IPF. The remainder of the IPF was to be used for assistance to various training programmes and institutes, and a variety of projects on administrative reform, feasibility studies, and establishing a central project office in the ministry of planning. Thus, the Mali country programme carried the tendency towards consolidation quite far, with only 17 projects planned for the five-year period, the majority of these being continued from the previous country programme.

The illustrative IPF for 1982-1986 was set at $65 million. After subtraction of the usual 20 per cent reserve, the $9 million authorized for 1982, and the small over-expenditure for 19771981 ($362,000), $42 million was available for programming. Of this amount, 16 per cent is reserved for future projects in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.

Overall, the third country programme for Mali is much more diverse than the 1977-1981 plan. Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries account for just over 30 per cent of the IPF, with half of this to be used for projects that will be formulated later. Nearly 20 per cent of the IPF will be devoted to natural resources, with the emphasis on drilling additional wells. Thirteen per cent will be devoted to general development issues, most of which are ongoing projects. As in the other Sahelian countries, many of the "projects" in this sector are simply allocations to provide the necessary administrative support for non-UNDP activities. For example, one project executed by UNDP was to administer UNCDF activities, another was to administer other UN projects, and a third was to cover the costs of organizing round-table meetings of all the development assistance agencies active in Mali. There is also an attempt to design projects that will attract additional funds from other donors. Other general development projects include such standard items as assistance to the ministry of planning, funds for administrative reform, etc. Industry, transport and communications, international trade and development financing, health, and education are each to receive 5-7.5 per cent of the IPF (UNDP 1982d).


Mauritania is unique among the Sahelian countries in that no country programme for UNDP assistance was formulated until 1977. Efforts had been made in 1973, but the lack of a national planning framework, together with the drought, made it impossible to design even a three-year programme. The IPF for 1972-1976 was $5 million, but expenditures were approximately $6.65 million, and this debt reduced the 1977-1981 IPF of $9.75 million by 17 per cent (UNDP 1977d).

For the period 1972-1976 UNDP funds were allocated as follows: 47.5 per cent for strengthening government institutions (including some fellowships), 36.5 per cent for training and education, and 16 per cent for increasing agricultural production. Management problems arose for a number of reasons, the primary one being simply that 42 different projects were undertaken, two-thirds of which were either technical assistance or fellowships. Since these required a considerable amount of administrative work and the shortage of trained manpower was probably more severe in Mauritania than in some of the other Sahelian countries, it should not be surprising that considerable difficulties were encountered in executing these projects. Furthermore, the need to continue existing activities as well as cover previous over-expenditures meant that relatively few new projects were initiated until the latter part of the cycle.

In the 1977-1981 IPF, rural development accounted for 43 per cent, mineral exploration 14 per cent, education and training 20 per cent, and miscellaneous activities 15 per cent. Within the rural development sector, $1.31 million was allocated for the agricultural extension and training centre at Kaedi, $389,000 for water projects, $420,000 for marine fisheries, and $236,000 for agricultural meteorology (UNDP 1977d). (The characterization by UNDP of a marine fisheries project as "rural development" demonstrates the more general problems in classifying projects, particularly when there are administrative constraints or managerial pressures to demonstrate a particular trend.)

For 1982-1986 the IPF was set at $24.5 million. Subtracting the 20 per cent reserve, a $1.4 million deficit from 1977-1981, and the $3 million authorized for 1982 left $15.2 million to be programmed. Of this, 37 per cent is to be devoted to agriculture, forestry, sad fisheries. Projects include poultry raising, small-scale marine fisheries, seed research, and $2 million for Mauritania's activities in relation to the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River (OMVS). Water management is another key area, and planned activities include the construction of earth dams, drilling of boreholes, repair and maintenance of existing wells, etc. Nearly onefourth of the IPF is allocated to infrastructure, while less than 9 per cent is devoted to human resources and training (UNDP 1982e).


The original IPF for 1972-1976 was $10 million, and the first country programme covered the entire five-year period. Activities were planned in conjunction with the government's "Ten Year Targets", but there was not a clear strategy behind the UNDP programme (UNDP 1977e). The obvious need for trained nationals led to 54 per cent of the IPF being committed to human resources, mostly for training various groups (teachers, managers, etc.). The remainder was divided between infrastructure, rural development, and natural resources. About two-thirds of the funds in the naturalresources sector was for mineral prospecting and one-third for well-drilling activities. In contrast, the 16 per cent for rural development was for a single project that included various components - research, demonstration, training, and extension (UNDP 1973d). The additional funds that became available as a result of the drought and Niger's status as an LDC were used for rural development and water resources projects (UNDP 1977e).

The country programme for 1977-1981 was drawn up under the guidelines of the 1976-1978 three-year programme, which was basically an outline for recovery from the drought. The IPF for 1977-1981 was $19.75 million, but this became $20.1 million when adjusted for over - expenditure in 19721976 and the extra LDC and drought funds. Nearly 30 per cent of the IPF was devoted to rural production, and the two largest projects in this sector were concerned with training agricultural technicians and soil mapping. Another project was to draw up a plan for the development of the zones freed from onchocerciasis, even though the disease-vector control programme had not yet begun. Other major projects included assistance to planning agencies, training managers, improvement of meteorological and hydrological services, mineral exploration, and the improvement of agricultural statistics IUNDP 1977e).

The illustrative IPF for 1982-1986 was set at $45 million. Following the allocation of the standard 20 per cent reserve and corrections for overspending and activities in 1982, $29.5 million was available for programming. This was roughly broken into thirds, with one-third directed towards ongoing projects, one-third for new projects (or new phases of ongoing projects), and one-third allocated by sector but not yet assigned to projects.

In keeping with the goals of the Cl LSS countries, 35 per cent of the IPF was to be used for agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. A wide variety of projects were planned, including soil mapping, assistance with agricultural statistics, seed technology training, research on irrigated rice, etc. Another 19 per cent was devoted to natural resources, which, in this case, meant primarily water development and secondarily mineral assessment. Ten per cent of the IPF was designed to help strengthen a variety of industrial enterprises (e.g., brickworks, tourism, a foundry/forge), with much smaller amounts assigned to other sectors (UNDP 1982f).


The IPF for 1972-1976 was set at $10 million, but, since the fourth development plan was made public only in mid-1973, the UNDP programming exercise covered just 1974-1976. Moreover, such heavy commitments were made in 19721973 that only 39 per cent of the IPF was available for the next three years, and 83 per cent of this was already committed for ongoing projects. Thus the planning exercise was close to an exercise in futility, as only 6 per cent of the total IPF could be devoted to new projects. In general the UNDP programme concentrated on strengthening the governmental infrastructure, developing tourism, and improving/diversifying agriculture (UNDP 1973e). As a special relief measure, nearly a million dollars was made available for drilling wells, reforestation, and improving the national meteorological service. In addition to the country programme, there were a number of UNDP regional projects concerned with the development of the Senegal River basin (UNDP 1973f).

The 1977-1981 IPF did not allow any basic change in this situation, as it was only 17 per cent higher and two-thirds of this increase had to be used to cover the over-commitments made in 1976. Thus, 65 per cent of the IPF was used to continue ongoing projects and 14 per cent was designated as an unprogrammed reserve, leaving only 20 per cent to be allocated to new projects. As in 1972-1976, UNDP efforts were concentrated on improving the government's administrative capability (41 per cent), industrial development (25 per cent), and rural development (27 per cent). In this latter category there were eight projects on topics such as grain improvement, forest utilization, sand-dune stabilization, small-scale fishing, and water resources. The continuing integrated rural development projects in the Senegal and Gambia river basins were regional projects and so did not come under the country IPF (UNDP 1977f).

For 1982-1986 the illustrative IPF was set at $33 million. The over-expenditure in 1977-1981 was $831,000, and, after subtraction of the 20 per cent reserve and 1982 expenditures, $21.2 million was left for 1983-1986. In contrast to the previous programmes, ongoing projects required a relatively small 28 per cent. In fact, however, much of the remaining 72 per cent was devoted to new phases of older projects. The deteriorating economic situation of most of the Sahelian countries also has forced UNDP to pick up more of the counterpart contributions than expected, and this has slightly reduced the funds available for programming.

The sectoral pattern of assistance planned for 1983-1986 is similar to that for the countries previously considered. Twenty-eight per cent of the IPF is to be devoted to agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, 25 per cent to natural resources (mostly for activities as yet unspecified), 13 per cent to general development (i.e., administration and planning), and smaller amounts for health, industry, employment, science and technology, etc. Overall, Senegal also illustrates the general trend towards fewer and larger projects. In the third country programme there was also a greater emphasis on water resources development, including assistance to irrigation projects, groundwater development, possible uses of sewage effluent, and activities supporting the work of the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River (UNDP 19829).


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