Article from ROAPE Volume 33 Number 109
World Bank/Urban Progs in Zimbabwe: Critical Appraisal

The World Bank and Urban Programmes in Zimbabwe: A Critical Appraisal
Vol.33 No.109 (Sept 2006), pp515-523
The World Bank did not address urban issues for the first twenty-five years of its existence. However, a variety of political factors propelled the reluctant institution to address urban poverty in the early 1970s. The majority of the Bank's urban interventions during the 1970s concentrated on squatter upgrading and sites-and-services projects. While these programmes did have their problems, they represent the Bank's first attempt to address directly the needs of the urban poor, and offer them a framework to legitimise their rights to shelter and secure land tenure. By the mid-1980s, however, the Bank moved away from this approach and embraced a perspective that examined cities in their national macro-economic contexts. The Bank argued that the role of governments ought to be transformed from that of ‘providers’ of urban services, to that of ‘supporters’ or ‘enablers’ that serve as a liaison between the private sector and self-help groups.