Project Management for Developing Countries

Projects are the basic building blocks of development. Without successful project identification, preparation and implementation, development plans are no more than wishes and developing nations would remain stagnant or regress.

There are many problems facing project management in developing countries. A number of factors have been identified for the poor performance of projects in developing countries. Generally, factor such as government policies, insufficient funds, withdrawal by donors, shortage of foreign exchange, inappropriate contract conditions, political priorities, poverty, socio-cultural conditions, corruption, low institutional and human capacity, and occurrence of unexpected events such as war, drought are considered to be the major factors behind the poor performance of projects in developing countries. Projects in developing countries are highly influenced by their external environment. Moreover, the project environment in many developing countries is unstable and characterized by rapid change of markets, shift of funding sources, frequent change of government policies and the business environment.

Another important reason for failure of projects in developing countries is the way projects are set up and implemented in those countries. This is mainly applicable to the so called “development projects.” In such projects, it is common to see lack of involvement and consultation of users and the tendency of some donors to finance only what they wanted or perceived to be important for the recipient rather than based on need of the users (Andersen, 2008). Sometimes public projects in developing countries fail due to lack of comprehensive planning and study.

Most of the reasons for failure of projects and their poor management in developing countries can be associated with the failure to consider the specific context of developing countries and critically adopt the PM methodologies to the context of developing countries.

In developing countries, the project manager must appreciate the project environment, maintain flexibility, and be competent to analyze the nature of associated problems and their adverse effects on the success of the project, and address these promptly.

One cannot draw a definite conclusion as to whether project management is or is not a solution for all the kinds of problems that developing countries are facing in regard to mobilizing their resources and overcoming their administrative and management incapacities. However, as noted earlier, this approach does have the potential to help solve some of these problems, if and when it is correctly used with careful consideration of local requirements and local conditions.


• Essilfie-Baiden, E. (2019), “Challenges of Project Management in Developing Countries”, Project Management Scientific Journal, 3 (6), 84-88.

• Adams, A. (2017), “Project Management for Developing Countries: Back to Basics”, Dama International Journal of Researchers, 2 (4), 05-09.

• Yanwen, W. (2012), “The Study on Complex Project Management in Developing Countries”, 2012 International Conference on Solid State Devices and Materials Science, Physics Procedia 25 (2012) 1547 – 1552.

Eng. Eltayeb abuagla- Sudan
Journalist,Senior Structural Engineer, Member of the Saudi Council of Engineers, Member of the Sudanese Engineering Council, Member of PMI.

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