International Project Management


International Project Management: Could it be another project management specialization that needs consideration?  

By Isaac Nyarwaya

Kenya and Rwanda


I recently started a new job in a regional inter-governmental organization. It is only then that I started to be exposed to the dynamics of transboundary projects; that is, projects that operate in more than one country. As I was thinking about the profession of project management, I started thinking deeply about the concept of international project management. At least I have heard about IT Project Management, Construction Project Management, and so on but I had never heard of International Project Management. Reflecting on the nature of transboundary projects, I thought international project management is an area that needs to be given due importance and consideration going forward.

Dynamics in managing transboundary projects

Let me share with you some the nature and structure of transboundary projects.


The projects may have a Regional Project Coordination Unit with a Regional Project Coordinator (RPC) at the minimum. Some could have a RPC and a staff in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation, An Accountant, a Project Administrator, etc. The number of staff for the Regional Project Coordination Unit will depend on the size of the project and the donor/ partner requirements.

Each country where the project will be implemented will have a national project implementation unit with its own staff. This national unit will have relatively more staff than the regional unit because activities are going to be implemented here and thus, there is more work at the national level. At the minimum, the national project implementation unit will have a National Project Coordinator but depending on the size of the project could have other key staff such as M&E Officer, Project Accountant, Administration Officer, and so on.

In relation to broader governance of the projects, the Regional Project Implementation Unit will be under the institution that requested the funds and is charged with overall oversight in the management of the project. This is a similar arrangement at the National Project Implementation Unit. The Unit will be under another institution that is the regarded as the implementation partner.


The challenges involved in the transboundary projects are immense. Let me point out only a few that I have personally seen.


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About the Author

Isaac Nyarwaya

Kigali, Rwanda


Isaac Nyarwaya
is a development and project management practitioner with 16 years of experience. He has worked in leading international NGOs, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), including holding senior management positions in Rwanda’s public service. He currently works as Principal Resource Mobilization Officer at the Lake Victoria Basin Commission; an institution affiliated to East African Community. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management with Distinction from the National University of Rwanda and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in Project Management from the Maastricht School of Management. He holds a foundational PRINCE2 Certification. He has been a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) since 1997 and a member of PMI- Kenya Chapter. As an International Correspondent for PM World, Isaac will be reporting news and information about projects and project management in Rwanda and will be making commentaries on project management based on his exposure on projects in the East African Region. Isaac Nyarwaya can be contacted at mailto:[email protected]or Tel. +254 740173053