Project Management for Development in Africa: Why Projects Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It



This article discusses international development (ID) projects and project management problems within ID in Africa and suggests they may fall into one or more of four main traps: the one-size-fits-all technical trap, the accountability-for-results trap, the lack-of-project-management-capacity trap, and the cultural trap. It then proposes an agenda for action to help ID move away from the prevailing one-size-fits-all project management approach; to refocus project management for ID on managing objectives for long-term development results; to increase aid agencies' supervision efforts notably in failing countries; and to tailor project management to African cultures. Finally, this article suggests an agenda for research, presenting a number of ways in which project management literature could support design and implementation of ID projects in Africa.