What Is the Agricultural Sector Investment Program (ASIP)?

The Agricultural Sector Investment Program (ASIP) was an economic development project initiated in March 1995 by the World Bank Group. The project directed $60 million in funds toward the improvement of agricultural productivity in Zambia and other African countries. Unfortunately, the project ended in 2001 after failing to meet its objectives.

Key Takeaways

  • The Agricultural Sector Investment Program (ASIP) was a World Bank initiative designed to promote increased productivity in the agricultural sectors of several African nations.
  • Most of its resources were concentrated on Zambia.
  • Although the ASIP failed to achieve its goals, the World Bank continues to advance several similar initiatives throughout the world.

How the ASIP Works

The overarching purpose of the ASIP was to help African countries improve their agricultural sectors in the interest of improving food security and contributing to domestic economy development. Initially, Zambia, Angola, Benin, and Senegal were selected to participate in the program, but the program was terminated after failing to achieve its stated targets in Zambia.

Ultimately, a post-termination assessment indicated that the project failed due to a lack of institutional support, suggesting that the financial and human resources dedicated to the project were not sufficient to ensure its success.

The report cited an array of challenges and complications that contributed to this disappointing outcome. Restructuring and decentralization of the central ministry took much longer than anticipated, which was a source of frustration for many of the donors. Unrealistic expectations and an overly broad scope that was impossible to manage further contributed to the challenges that, ultimately, could not be overcome.

If the ASIP had been successful, it may have had a lasting impact on the domestic agricultural economies of Zambia and the other participating countries. Under the four primary goals of the ASIP project, these countries would have seen legal changes and institutional improvements relating to food security, land usage, agricultural pricing, and export practices; as well as increased partnerships between governments and private firms.

This program sought to attract additional private funding to these nations, partly through the creation of a rural investment fund designed to provide small-scale capital investments in rural areas. By providing grants to local governments, it also encouraged the privatization of government-owned farms.

Real-World Example of the ASIP

The ASIP program was part of several larger programs that were high on the World Bank's primary agenda during the 1990s. These included achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals, three of which are eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, and ensuring environmental sustainability. ASIP fell under the umbrella of the World Bank’s Corporate Advocacy Priorities and Global Public Goods Priorities programs, designed to foster productive coordination between the word’s business and public policy communities.

Although the ASIP was not successful, the World Bank continues to provide low-interest loans, zero-interest credit, and a variety of grants to developing countries. These programs and resources are designed to help these nations achieve important, attainable results in critical areas such as health, education, economic development, infrastructure building and maintenance, and agriculture.