Background to the Study


The Impact of Project Failure on the Socio-Economic Development in Zimbabwe: A Case of Masvingo Province

By Benias Mapepeta, PhD

Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University

Masvingo, Zimbabwe


It is imperative to quickly diagnose project failure at a quick glance without having to research on it. Political climates, for example, are quick diagnostic tools for project failures or analysis. Because, a country is going through serious political instability, development projects cannot survive. Such is a case with Zimbabwe as a country. This is true to the sense, considering that development efforts will be channeled towards political development rather than socio-economic development. This paper is a background to the study on the impact of project failure on the socio-economic development in Zimbabwe with specific reference to Masvingo Province. The objectives are to highlight the background of most project failures that takes place in Zimbabwe. The researcher highlighted his own models of conducive environment for successful socio-economic development projects and an extrapolated model of unconducive environment for socio-economic development projects success. In these models, the research stressed that the three core pillars of project management which are accountability, responsibility and good governance are main targets of corruption which is an ill most irresponsible governments endure. In some fashion, the researcher concluded and recommended that project success takes place in positive environments.

Key Words: Responsibility, Development, Good governance

It is of paramount importance to note that Zimbabwe inherited, socially, politically, economically and technologically, dualistic socio-economic system at its independence that were envisaged to promote development (Vurayai, 2012). Originally and historically, the socio-economic system was mainly composed of a white dominating relatively capital intensive modern sector including commercial farms, mines, modern manufacturing and information technology service units (CARA/IOM, 2010). There also existed side by side a largely neglected peasant sector characterized by low per capita incomes, wide spread poverty, disease and undeveloped infrastructure (Protracted Relief Programmes, 2012:42). Following independence in 1980, the government embarked on a programme of centralized economic planning and socialist oriented policies in order to be able to develop (Mubvumbi and Kamete, 1999, Murisa, 2011 and Palen, 2001). Today, Zimbabwe’s socio-economic system is a basket of confusing socio-politico-economic hegemony contemplative of proper implementative policies and programmes extracting itself from the world’s worst scenario of poverty at its height (Protracted Relief Programme, 2012).

Rwelamila (2012) argues that there is a strong relationship between socio-economic development and project management whereby development either in the public or private sector is not possible without successful implementation of projects. However, (Latif and Maunganidze, 2003) postulated that, it is also inherent that successful implementation of projects relies heavily if not totally on the socio-economic temperature of the organizations in a country, thus Zimbabwe as in this case should have set a socio-economic temperature cultivative of successful implementation of socio-economic development projects in all sectors.

Smith (1970:6) in Steyn and Schmikl (2013) propounds that the purpose of all organisations is to add value to Nations who in turn add value to the world at large. Thus, organisations are set forth as wealth creation mechanisms and if successful should be in a position to create wealth through profiteering which adds value to a nation (Dyk, 2014).

According to Smith (1970:6) in wealth creation, organisations make profit. After making profit they re-invest in the areas of specialization that they made profit from. Through this process, value is being created together with a chain through which lives of people involved are enhanced.

Steyn and Schmikl (2013) took the point of organisations in terms of governments, whereby their argument is that if all governments are responsible for their citizens and their major purpose of formulations is to enhance the lives of their citizens. Thus, a responsible government is responsible for its citizens who would in turn formulate responsible organizations which are successful and thus implement successful projects. If the situation is not a health situation then, that would mean project failures and the whole socio-economic scenario crumbles.


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About the Author

pmwj49-Aug2016-Mapepeta-PHOTO2Dr Benias Mapepeta

Lecturer and Consultant





Benias Mapepeta (Dr) has a Graduate Diploma in Information Processing and an Advanced Diploma in Systems Analysis. With a Bsc – Social Sciences from University of Zimbabwe he also holds a Post Grad – Analysis and Planning Development Projects from Oslo University (Norway) and another Post Grad – Managing Sustainable Development Projects from the In Mcdonald Associates done at Sussex university, UK. He also holds an MBA – Strategic Planning from Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) and a PhD – Project, Programme and Portfolio Management from Cranefield College (South Africa. He has more than 20 years of experience in Project Management and has published three books on Management and Sustainability of which he also has published more than 30 research articles with various journals and co-published and collaborated in many others.

He is a member of Project Management South Africa and Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe. An accomplished Lecturer and Conference Presenter, he has designed and is working on establishing a Bsc- Project management Programme and an Msc – Project Management Programme with Great Zimbabwe University in Affiliation with Project Management Institute of Zimbabwe. He is a Peer Reviewer of several Academic Journals and a Lecturer at various Universities and Institutions of Higher Education. Whilst currently he is Project, Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, Dr Mapepeta is free lancing in his field of expertise working on various projects and publications.

Dr. Mapepeta can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Dr. Mapepeta, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-benia-mapepeta/