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Case Studies on Pro-Poor PPPs

Case studies enable a reader to understand and identify the underlying principles and issues involved in that specific sector. A case study can set a good precedent to help the reader to understand the background of the case, identify the issues involved and ways to address the same in similar circumstances for future reference.

Examples of Pro-Poor PPPs

This section covers several case studies of PPP projects for the poor in sectors such as water and telecommunications for various regions (or jurisdiction).


Reference: Public private partnerships and the poor - Case Study - Buenos Aires, Argentina. Experiences with water provision in four low-income barrios in Buenos Aires, Argentina

A case study of four barrios (neighborhoods) in Buenos Aires, Argentina where the initial water concession from the local government to Aguas de Argentina -the private utility- did not provide enough coverage and was leaving the poor out from the area of service. However, water access and sanitation services improved significantly for citizens including the urban poor in an informal settlement. The improvement was an outcome of renegotiating contractual terms and the strong participation of the community, the government, and the private utility.

Reference: Universal Service Obligations in Utility Concession Contracts and the Needs of the Poor in Argentina’s Privatizations

This document is a study on Argentina’s Obligatory Service and Universal Service obligation for diverse sectors such as energy, telecommunication, water and sewage, and gas. It opens with an analysis of the concepts of Obligatory Service and Universal Service, including the Argentinean experience, and concludes with the relevant principles of the case.


Reference: Designing Pro-Poor Water and Sewer Concessions: Early Lessons from Bolivia

In this document, the author explains how the design of laws and regulations, bidding process, and contract play an important role in the results of a private participation in infrastructure. The Author conducts a study on concessions for water and sewer services in La Paz and El Alto, and illustrates how the service coverage is directly affected by the provisions established under the concession framework. The author also suggests improving private sector performance by enforcing well-defined contractual arrangements between the government and private sector participants.

Reference: Expanding Water and Sanitation Services to Low-Income Households - The case of the La Paz–El Alto concession

This case captures the water concession in Bolivia which was specifically designed to improve and expand services to the poor. The author analyzes the impact of changes in contractual provisions where the scope of services is widened.


Reference: Case Study: São Paulo Telecentres Project

This case study is about the involvement of RITS (Rede de Informacão para o Terceiro Setor), a Brazilian civil society organization involved in ICT policy monitoring and advocacy – in setting up community access centers (telecenters) in São Paulo which inspired various policies to roll out telecenters in Brazil. (…) This partnership-based project mobilized policy, investment and technical support leading to the establishment of 128 community-based telecentres. The São Paulo model was based on free public access to facilities and training, community participation in management, free and open source software, and development of the community telecentre as a venue for social organization.

India and Africa

Reference: Case Study: Rural Broadband Backbone (In English, Spanish, and French)

This document discusses different approaches to establishing a broadband network in rural areas. It explains how ICT can aid in eliminating poverty and why ICT pro-poor policies are important for the short and long-term development of an economy. It covers various examples of ICT projects in India with direct investment from the government as a public operator, and on Africa where the ICT facility was executed by a public-private consortium.


Reference: Case Study: Digital Inclusion Policies: Some Lessons From India (In English, Spanish, and French)

The paper discusses the Common Service Centres (CSCs) scheme established by the Government under the National e-Governance Plan. The plan creates a network of CSCs in India’s rural zones, which are led by the private sector to promote digital inclusion.


Reference: Public-Private Partnerships and the Poor - Case Study- Jakarta, Indonesia. Drinking water concessions, (a study for better understanding public-private partnerships and water provision in low-income settlements)

This document examines several aspects of private sector participation in the drinking water concessions in Jakarta. The objective of the report is to:

  • study the agreements and resulting outcomes;
  • describe the perceptions of the different stakeholders;
  • describe measures to improve the accessibility of drinking water for the urban poor; and
  • discuss alternatives in developing partnerships with community-based organizations.


Reference: Public-private partnerships and the poor - Case Study- Kibera. Small enterprises and water provision in Kibera, Nairobi

This is a case study on private sector participation in the water sector in Nairobi, Kenya, particularly in the largest informal settlement of the city, called Kiberia. The case study analyzes a project which was developed to re-arrange the existing public-private partnerships where private sector participants were small local providers and established water services across informal settings. The document analyzes the underlying principles of this particular project and describes why water provision in a public-private partnership is a significant facet of the sector in filling gaps for effective implementation of services for poor consumers.


Reference: Public-Private Partnerships and the poor - Case report 3: Awami tanks in Orangi Town, Karachi, Pakistan

This is a case report on water service projects in Karachi, Pakistan, where the performance of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board has declined severely causing shortages and other problems in the area. Specifically, the report focuses on analyzing how, because of a public-private initiative, the water supply situation was smoothed in a quite large informal settlement at Karachi. The report also draws important conclusions about this particular public-private partnership and gives some recommendations about it. The initiative was the implementation of Awami tanks (Awami= communal), facilitated by KWSB and Pakistan rangers.


Reference: Case Study: Providing Universal Access: FITEL, Peru (In English, Spanish and French)

This is an important case study on ICT universal access provision, it shows an innovative bidding process that allowed telecom universal access in Peru.

“FITEL in Peru offers an early and successful example of a universal access fund adopting an innovative approach to achieving access in rural areas, now widely replicated: the lowest-subsidy auction. This is an efficient mechanism for minimizing the subsidy required for commercial telecoms companies to extend the network into non-commercial areas, by awarding the contract to the bidder seeking the lowest subsidy. Despite shortcomings, this pioneering program brought a number of social benefits, and activities have since expanded from public telephony to include internet access.”

Reference: Telecom Subsidies - Output-Based Contracts for Rural Services in Peru

This article explains how the lowest-subsidy auction functioned in Peru for the telecommunications sector. The author analyzes the bidding process, pricing and subsidies, assessment of the project as a policy, and outcomes of the project.

Reference: Case Study: The Huaral Valley Agrarian Information System, Peru

This case study is on the Huaral Valley project that through infrastructure allowed access to telecommunications and internet service to poor farming communities. It also explains the importance of community empowerment and leadership that brought in significant improvement in ICT projects and made it more affordable to the people.


Reference: The Design of the Manila Concessions and Implications for the Poor

This document studies a program in Manila which was implemented to obtain universal water coverage during its first ten years. The program was impactful in low-income neighborhoods due to the structure of concessions. The study details the background of the project, the contractual arrangements, and incentives and concludes with the lessons learned from this case.

South Africa

Reference: Public-Private Partnerships and the poor - Case Study- Dolphin Coast water concessions, Dolphin Coast, South Africa

This document studies the existing water concession provisions in Dolphin Coast area in South Africa, including various outcomes before the report was published; different perceptions of several stakeholders; and its impact on poor groups in that particular area. It is a summary of the evaluation of the public-private partnership and its impact.

Reference: Public-Private Partnerships and the Poor - Case Study - Revisiting Queenstown, South Africa

A case study of a PPP for the operation, maintenance, and management of existing water and sanitation systems, and the partnership impact on the poor. The public-private partnership has been entered into by an operator called "Water and Sanitation Services South Africa" and the municipality of Queenstown, of the then Queenstown Transitional Local Council area (Eastern Cape Province) in South-Africa.

Developing Countries

Reference: Contracting Out Water and Sanitation Services - Volume 2: Case studies and analyses of Service and Management Contracts in developing countries

This document starts with an overview of the water sector in the PPP, trends in different parts of the world, and an analysis of contracting out and outsourcing. Then the study goes in depth on cases of contracting out (services and management contracts in the water sector) in countries such as Chile, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, African, India, Indonesia, and the USA. The document is an attempt to answer questions related to where and how to conduct contracting out; whether contracting out actually has any impact on efficiency and effectiveness, and how contracting out can be further enhanced to deliver improved water and sanitation services in developing countries.

For more information on Pro-Poor PPPs, visit Laws and Regulations Supporting Pro-Poor Services DeliveryContractual Examples Supporting Pro-Poor Services DeliveryOther Mechanisms Supporting Pro-Poor Services Delivery or the section on Case Studies and Further Reading for additional resources.

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Updated: July 12, 2024