The World Bank & urban programmes in Zimbabwe: A critical appraisal

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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 (Ayres, 1983; Ramsamy, 2006). 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 (World Bank, 1991, 1993).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-523
Number of pages9
JournalReview of African Political Economy
Issue number109
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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