Critical Factors Hindering Successful Implementation of World Bank-Assisted

Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Projects in Imo State, Nigeria



Dr. Ibeawuchi Ifeanyi Echeme

Department of Project Management Technology
Federal University of Technology

Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria



The low level of success recorded in the implementation of local empowerment and environmental management projects (LEEMP) undertaking by the World Bank group in Imo state, Nigeria, this study set. The aim is to establish the factors that contributed favorably or unfavorably to the level of success achieved by LEEMP in the state. The contributory factors to the low performance were identified. Based on this, five-point Likert’s scale questionnaire was designed and distributed to 167 respondents for assessment on the level of effect of the contributory factors to cost and time overrun witnessed. The discriminant analysis of the collected data isolated intercommunity collaboration and community support as factors that discriminate negatively while other discriminating factors were positively significant towards LEEMP project success. The hypotheses testing identified political interference as the most critical factor that hinders the successful World Bank-assisted project implementation in Imo state. Also negligence of research recommendations, political interference and lack of intercommunity collaboration significantly contributed to cost and time variations. In view of these findings, the study recommends adequate community participation and improved capacity building of the World Bank local operatives in order to control cost and time, elimination of corruption and political interferences and other forms of indiscipline.

1.0 Introduction

Project success depends on good planning and implementation. The planning and implementation process could make the project succeed, fail or even be abandoned midstream. Government at all levels exist mainly to provide the necessary conditions that would aid the positive growth of the social welfare functions of the populace. This positive growth is achieved through the use of development projects.

The existence of poor planning and implementation culture is an anti-thesis to development. This is because the development of any nation is predicted on successful planning and implementation of development projects. For the projects to be fully planned and implemented/executed, they must be adequately budgeted for and properly funded. Funding is normally carried out through the allocation for scarce resources between competing alternatives.

Failed projects throw a nation backward through different ways and these includes:

(i)        The financial loss of the failed projects,

(ii)       The loss of the alternative projects,

(iii)      The mortgaging of future development of the nation through the servicing of the debts used in funding the project from sources other than internally generated funds (Okorafor, 1997).

Recent discussions among the developing nations seem to revolve around the attainment of the development through grass root development strategy. Since various efforts have been made by governments and international organizations to develop the rural areas in order to achieve these objectives.  The need to analyze the critical factors inhibiting the performance of World Bank assisted Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Projects (LEEMP) in a bid to enhance the developmental efforts of the World Bank group in Nigeria necessitated this study. The aim is to determine the level of contributions made by some towards the level of project performance of the World Bank assisted development projects in Imo state, Nigeria.

Akpan, Echeme and Ubani (2017) posited that the state of poor development project delivery of less developed countries (LCDs) in recent times and the extent to which this has created problems of underdevelopment in these economies have been of general concern.

To achieve the needed development, the World Bank has been collaborating with the Federal Government of Nigeria in the development of the country through the implementation of development programmes. The World Bank has planned to achieve all these by establishing development agencies across many countries among which is the LEEMPs, a programme to tackle various problems of development in Nigeria and other developing countries. The main goal of this World Bank agency is to strengthen the rural communities through the provision of infrastructure to improve the social and economic wellbeing of the people (LEEMP, 2007). In order to realize this goal, the World Bank adopted the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach in the planning and implementation of its development projects. With this, the benefitting communities champion their developmental agenda by identifying and prioritizing their needs, deciding and preparing of micro – projects required to address the identified needs, co – financing the micro – projects, continue to operate and maintain the micro – project, thereby ensuring sustainability, and learn to do things for themselves and in so doing their capacities are built, ownership of the micro- projects is guaranteed by active participation of beneficiaries in all phase of the micro – project cycle. The funding pattern used comprise of 90% World Bank (LEEMP) contribution and 10% community contribution of the total project cost. But the low rate of community contribution has been and is still affecting the success rate of most World Bank projects, especially in the rural areas developing countries (LEEMP, 2007).

There is no doubt that, consistent project failures and subsequent abandonment are indications of drift towards failure to achieve the needed national development. However, the problem of poor project implementation have been heavily blamed on corruption and indiscipline. The question is; are these twin problems the only militating factors? The contention from various quarters is that instability in government policies, and insincerity of government and even the governed, most times lead to conflicts (Echeme & Nwachukwu, 2010).


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About The Author

Dr. Ibeawuchi Ifeanyi Echeme

Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria


Dr. Ibeawuchi Ifeanyi Echeme
is a lecturer in the department of Project Management Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri. Echeme has a B.Tech, MSc, and PhD in Project Management Technology and has published more than fifteen (20) articles in both international and national reputable journals. Dr. Echeme, I.I. has published a textbook on Project Time, Cost and Quality Management. He is a Certified Project Director (CPD) and a member of International Project Management Professionals (IPMP). Dr. Echeme has presented papers in conferences and workshops within and outside Nigeria.

He can be contacted through email; [email protected]  or Tel/ WhatsApp:  +2348032403835.