Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Carsten Greve and Anthony E. Boardman
Chapter 19: Empirical Evidence of Infrastructure Public–Private Partnerships: Lessons from the World Bank Experience
Paul Noumba-Um Introduction Governments worldwide have expressed strong interest in public–private partnerships (PPPs)1 to finance the development of infrastructure systems or facilities crucial for their economic growth and development. While this surge of interest in PPPs is recent, private sector participation in the delivery of key infrastructure facilities and services is not a contemporary innovation. Indeed, public authorities envisaged very early on asking private parties to carry out public services activities on their behalf and under their control. In France, as early as the sixteenth century, the government signed its first concession with Adam de Craponne for the construction of a canal in 1554.2 In 1568, the City of London accepted to concession its water supply to private companies. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries also witnessed the multiplication of public–private partnership schemes regarding the development of key infrastructure facilities such as bridges and canals in Europe and elsewhere. Although the current enthusiasm for PPPs is real, it raises new challenges to development institutions such as the World Bank. PPPs are complex and costly to implement, and may not be affordable to many governments struggling with other pressing social needs in the developing world. The World Bank and other international financial institutions (IFIs) therefore face a ‘PPP paradox’ in the sense that they need to strike a sensible balance between forceful advocacy for PPPs and effective management of client countries’ expectations of what can be achieved through PPPs. The reality of fiscal space limits the ability of many...
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