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Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the strategic assumptions and practices in World Bank project appraisal programs. Semistructured interviews of senior World Bank field officers in Addis Ababa and Nirobi and extensive review of World Bank appraisal directives and related documents provided the data for the study. The purpose was to see the correspondence between Bank project appraisal methods, assumptions, and criteria and the iterative/participatory development model. The findings suggest that despite the Bank's awareness of the inherent value of the iterative/participatory development model and expressed interest in changing the direction of the Bank's development practices towards it, the project approach with appraisal emphasis on monetary and quantitative measures of development continue to dominate. The findings also imply the importance of broadening the Bank's professional mix if significant movement towards an iterative/participatory strategy is to be realized.

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