Working together: Assessing public-private partnerships in Africa

"Governments are looking to public-private partnerships (PPPs) to radically improve infrastructure networks in their countries and enhance service delivery to their people. They are hoping that this development finance model — where the state shares risk and responsibility with private firms but ultimately retains control of assets — will improve services, while avoiding some of the pitfalls of privatisation: unemployment, higher prices and corruption.This review of PPPs suggests that, above all, governments must fundamentally improve their systems for dealing with the private sector to realise the efficiency and effectiveness gains that these partnerships promise. The eight case studies in this report (which draw lessons from PPPs in toll roads, ports, prisons, telecommunications, eco-tourism and water and electricity provision) show that those partnerships that have been most successful in Africa have been characterised by thorough planning, good communication, strong commitment from both parties and effective monitoring, regulation and enforcement by government. The issue of pricing is crucial both to avoid political fall-out and to ensure the viability of the contract for business."