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The restructuration of the vulnerable neighbourhood of Elmina

Nouakchott
Mauritania

 

The "Restructuring of the precarious El Mina district in Nouakchott (Mauritania)" project (02/2003 to 12/2007) aimed at improving living conditions in the precarious El Mina neighbourhood by enhancing its level of equipment and accelerating the integration of its urban population in the formal structures of the town. The main objectives were: infrastructure and basic facilities (roads, schools, clinics, markets, fountains, etc.) in the area; ensure security of tenure to occupants of the neighbourhood; provide access to decent housing; relocate people in previously prepared areas.

The preparation and implementation of the project several other stakeholders alongside the Mauritanian government (supported by its ministerial departments and institutions concerned: CDHLCP/I and AMEXTIPE) of the Urban Community of Nouakchott and the World Bank, including (i) local authorities (Prefect and Mayor) (ii) representatives of populations (iii) and the NGOs present in the town.

Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of this project are the people living in the neighbourhood, estimated in 2002 at about 50,000 inhabitants and all occupants of outlying areas surrounding the neighbourhood.

An extensive process was developed of public participation and representatives of all institutions and civil society organizations present in the area. A Commission of Attribution and Compensation (CAC) was established to ensure optimal displacement and to help to deal with the many complaints.

The institutionalization of the project was based on the establishment of an inter ministerial committee chaired by the Prime Minister and supported by a steering committee. This inter ministerial committee was in charge of (i) defining the strategy of restructuring, responsibilities and set budgets and (ii) supervising the operation and coordinating the various stakeholders.

Funding for the project came primarily from the IDA, with about 12 million Euros, complemented by the Mauritanian government to the order of 2 million Euros.

Main achievements

The main achievements can be summarized as follows: acquisition of a method and testing of specific tools for intervention in disadvantaged neighbourhoods; reconciliation of certain central governments by coordinating their interventions; district equipment level increased by :

  • the establishment of a network 16 km of roads,
  • the drinking water supply network through standpipes,
  • the establishment of public lighting, and
  • the construction of basic facilities (classrooms, clinic, neighbourhood markets, public toilets ...);
  • increased security;
  • accelerated urban development of the neighbourhood;
  • outbreak of small commercial and craft businesses and services.

Main challenges

The main challenges and obstacles related to the project are as follows:

  • accurate determination of eligibility;
  • complexity related to the overlapping of several tasks:
  • identification of beneficiaries; preparation and planning of reception areas;
  • social engineering;
  • building construction;
  • litigation/challenge management and tradeoffs inherent in this type of operation;
  • mobilization of financial resources;
  • compliance with funder guidelines and particularly those relating to involuntary displacement;
  • support information: level and nature;
  • times for the implementation of certain actions.