The use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to deliver UK aid has been multiplying and looks set to increase in the coming years. All of these PPPs have some kind of arrangement between the public and private sector for the private sector to deliver some or all of the goods or services which traditionally fell under public sector responsibility, such as health care provision or building a road.
The one term PPP can refer to a wide range of different initiatives, some of which can have quite complex structures. For example, PPPs in international development have both a donor government such as the UK and a host government receiving UK aid as the public sector partners, but often the donor governments often channel their money indirectly to PPPs, via the World Bank, the Private Infrastructure Development Group and various other channels. There has also been a recent increase in sales of PPP equity, with over 75% of these transactions now being made through offshore infrastructure funds.
And when it comes to the private sector partner(s), they could be various different business sizes, structures or sectors; ranging from small-scale farmers, artisans or local entrepreneurs to UK companies and transnational corporations.
Given this diversity of the public sector, private sector and PPP structures, it is not possible to make any general assumptions about what the development impacts will be for all PPPs. This means that assumptions must be tested at the assessment, monitoring and evaluation stages for each PPP by all of the actors involved.
CAFOD’s new discussion paper picks out some of the key arguments that we have identified from the international debate about the advantages and disadvantages of using PPPs to deliver UK aid and then raises questions which we think will help the policy debate to better understand:
- The nature of the value that PPPs add to the delivery of the environmental and poverty reduction objectives of UK aid
- the ways in which the learning from the impact of these PPPs is informing policy and practice
The paper is the first in a series looking at the use of PPPs to deliver UK aid. CAFOD would like to hear your opinion about these questions. Are they the right questions to ask? Are there questions missing? What do you think are the added benefits of using PPPs to deliver aid? What has been your experience of applying the learning from implementation to new UK aid funded PPPs?
All comments are welcomed and can be sent to:
Beck Wallace, Lead Analyst on Extractive Industries & Corruption firstname.lastname@example.org