The World Bank's private arm, the International Finance Corporation, has found that only half of its Africa projects succeed.
Many other donors have not done much better.
Here are a few of the development projects in Africa that went wrong:
Project: Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline to the Atlantic Ocean
Donor: World Bank
Cost: $4.2 billion
Where it went wrong: The pipeline was the biggest development project in Africa when it was completed in 2003. It was funded on condition that the money be spent with international supervision to develop Chad. However, President Idris Deby's government announced in 2005 that oil money would go toward the general budget and the purchase of weapons, or else oil companies would be expelled. Now Deby spends the oil money on regime survival and rigged elections.
Project: Lake Turkana fish processing plant, Kenya
Donor: Norwegian government
Cost: $22 million
Where it went wrong: The project was designed in 1971 to provide jobs to the Turkana people through fishing and fish processing for export. However, the Turkana are nomads with no history of fishing or eating fish. The plant was completed and operated for a few days, but was quickly shut down. The cost to operate the freezers and the demand for clean water in the desert were too high. It remains a "white elephant" in Kenya's arid northwest.
Project: Lesotho Highlands water project
Donor: World Bank, European Investment Bank, African Development Bank
Cost: $3.5 billion
Where is went wrong: The project to divert fresh water from the mountains for sale to South Africa and for electricity began in 1986. But the electricity proved too expensive for most people, and the diversion of so much water caused environmental and economic havoc downstream. The development fund raised from selling the water was shut down in 2003. The courts convicted three of the world's largest construction firms on corruption charges and the project's chief executive was jailed. Tens of thousands of people whose lives were ruined by the diversion are still waiting for compensation.
Project: Office du Niger, Mali
Cost: More than $300 million over 50 years
Where is went wrong: The goal in 1932 was to irrigate 2.47 million acres to grow cotton and rice and develop hydropower in the Mali desert. More than 30,000 people were forced to move to the desert to work on the largest aid project attempted by French colonial authorities. The African workers largely ignored French attempts to change traditional agricultural practices. By 1982, only 6 percent of the region was developed and the infrastructure was falling apart. The World Bank took over the project in 1985 and has shown limited success with rice farming.
Project: Roll Back Malaria, across Africa
Donor: Multiple agencies
Cost: About $500 million
Where is went wrong: Roll Back Malaria, established in 1998, aimed to halve malaria incidence by 2010. The program said Africa needed $1.9 billion a year to slow the disease, but by 2002 donors had only come up with $200 million a year. By 2004 the infection rate had risen 12 percent. Experts say donors rarely followed through with pledges and some programs were subject to political considerations, such as what kinds of insecticides to use, whether to buy cheap generic drugs or how much poor people should pay for mosquito nets.
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