Top-down pressure from donors, public sector inefficiencies and fund deficits have steered the introduction of public–private partnerships (PPPs) in sub-Saharan Africa. However, PPP activities in the water sector have been quite insignificant compared to other infrastructure sectors in this region. In addition, a number of water PPPs have encountered great difficulties and subsequent failures. This study aims at unveiling the underlying reasons behind failures.
This study has classified the failure types of water PPPs and reviewed the development of water PPPs in sub-Saharan Africa to identify failed ones. Eight failed case studies are completed through the rigorous approach of event sequence mapping.
Nine root causes of water PPP failure are identified through a thorough examination of these failed water PPP cases and the interrelationships between these failure causes are established. The failure causes are further generalized through literature focusing on water PPP failures in developing countries and problematic issues that hinder the implementation of successful water PPPs across different Sub-Saharan African countries. Recommendations are provided for future improvements in carrying out water PPPs in Sub-Saharan Africa by learning past lessons and drawing experiences.
This is the first case study on water PPP failures in Sub-Saharan Africa from a construction management perspective. This study will help governments and the private sector in developing stronger future water PPPs.
This study is financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Number: 71472052). The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.
Tariq, S. and Zhang, X. (2022), "A critical analysis of water PPP failures in sub-Saharan Africa", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 3157-3180. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-01-2021-0084
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