1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Markets, Business and Regulation (2000 - 2009)

Current issues in Private sector participation (PSP) in water services (Draft)



Privatization of public infrastructure became the mantra of many development agencies since the late 1980s. Water supply was not an exception and different forms of private sector participation (PSP) in water supply have been experimented. Among the policy circles, privatization became the objective in itself rather than a means of increasing access or helping the poor and increasing the overall performance of the economy. This article examines the results achieved by these experiments. The evidence shows that PSP has mixed results and private sector is not more efficient than the public sector. It also shows that in most cases PSP did not deliver as it was expected. Despite growing failures and increasing public pressure, the article concludes that PSP debate is still alive, but repackaged through different forms.