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University of Amsterdam (2016)

Designing public-private partnership for sustainable urban water and sanitation services : a case study of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Johansson E.M.

Titre : Designing public-private partnership for sustainable urban water and sanitation services : a case study of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Auteur : Johansson E.M.

Université de soutenance : University of Amsterdam

Grade : Research Master of Science in International Development Studies 2016

Résumé
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have during the last decades consolidated as an instrument for reaching development objectives in many sectors across the world. A range of donors and policy makers argue that PPPs contribute to economic growth through job creation, technology transfer, capacity development, innovation, and that they stimulate investment in local economies with financial injections. Critics argue that PPPs might result in services at higher cost, of poorer quality and limited quantity for marginalised groups. Due to divergent experiences across developed and developing countries, controversy around the suitability of PPPs for public service provision and deviating theoretical understandings of PPPs, this thesis aims to investigate if the theoretical fragmentation of the concept has implications for a PPP in practice. Through a case study of a PPP in the WaSH sector in Addis Ababa it addresses the question : How can public-private partnerships be designed in order to contribute to sustainable urban WaSH services ? Through combining an extensive literature review with an instrumental analysis of one WaSH PPP, the study adds to the discussion about PPP design that can be further tested in future research and application of PPPs. The retroductive research approach applies qualitative methods including document analysis, qualitative content analysis and semi-structured interviews. The study finds that i) there is a contrasting understanding about the use and format of PPPs, ii) there is a divergent understanding of WaSH as either a public or a private good, iii) the contracts, project plans and budgets are confidential which makes informed assessment of the effectiveness and longterm sustainability of PPPs impossible, and iv) partial PPPs that exclude important interventions on sanitation might negatively affect communities further downstream. Hence, the study suggests that PPPs aiming at development goals and financed by donor or recipient government funds need to i) ensure shared understanding of partnership practice, ii) provide clear provisions on how to manage public goods within PPPs, iii) apply transparent contracts and appropriate fund use, and iv) integrate WaSH services to ensure long-term sustainability. This study argues that a mutual understanding of the partnership and of WaSH is a crucial factor for providing sustainable WaSH services. With this, the study exposes a need for further research about a potential contradiction between profitability and sustainability of PPPs.

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