UNESCAP Working Paper on Towards a new model of PPPs: Can public private partnerships deliver basic services to the poor?

Working paper30 Jan 2009

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are often advocated as an effective mechanism for delivering water and sanitation services. At the same time it is argued that in developing countries the private sector lacks the incentives to extend services to the poor and that PPPs may only be able to improve services for the better-off. This paper briefly analyses the difficulties of reaching the poor through PPPs and tries to define a model of PPPs that are specifically designed to serve the poor. Based on a series of case studies documented by ESCAP, it observed that these types of PPPs often incorporate some of the strategies and methods of the informal sector, and include community organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) among their partners. Governments should adapt regulations to accommodate these arrangements and encourage the participation of private companies, NGOs and community organizations. The analysis concentrates on the water sector but its implications can be applied to the delivery of other basic services as well.