African Archaeological Review

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 27–38 | Cite as

Safeguarding Archaeological Cultural Resources in Africa—Policies, Methods and Issues of (Non) Compliance

  • Noemie Arazi
Original Article


This paper approaches the safeguarding of Africa’s physical cultural resources in the context of development cooperation, infrastructure and environmental management. I focus on the World Bank’s physical cultural resource policy, as it constitutes to this day the most comprehensive tool for mitigating the adverse impacts of infrastructure development. However, it will also be shown that issues of noncompliance still persist in bank-financed projects, especially concerning Africa’s cultural resources. The European Commission’s policies toward heritage preservation will also be touched upon for purposes of contrast. I will close with suggestions for future activities that may have a positive impact on safeguarding those resources.


Development cooperation Culture Infrastructure World Bank European Union Environmental impact assessment Noncompliance Heritage legislation 


Cet article traite la question de la protection du patrimoine culturel en Afrique dans le contexte de la coopération au développement, l’infrastructure et la gestion environnementale. L’accent est mis sur la politique opérationnelle de la Banque Mondiale car cela constitue actuellement l’outil le plus complet pour atténuer les impacts négatifs suite au développement industriel. Toutefois, il sera témoigné que les problèmes de non-conformité persistent dans les projets financés par la Banque Mondiale, particulièrement par rapport à la sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel. La politique de l’Union Européenne sur la protection du patrimoine culturel sera aussi mentionnée pour la comparer avec celle de la Banque Mondiale. L’article clôturera avec des suggestions pour des activités futures qui pourront avoir un impact positif sur la sauvegarde de ces ressources.



I would like to thank Federica Sulas and Stephanie Wynne-Jones for having organized a very timely and stimulating conference on Africa’s Fragile Heritage in October of 2009 and for their invitation to Cambridge. Special thanks go to Federica Sulas for her support and encouragement to publish this piece and her helpful comments. Special thanks also go to Prof. Pierre de Maret and his continued involvement and support for Heritage Management Services, and lastly I would like to thank Arlene Fleming, who has assisted me in identifying the right people at the World Bank to whom we could address our enquiries concerning compliance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heritage Management ServicesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Université Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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