Governments have focused on large national level public-private partnership (PPP) projects in key economic sectors like transport over the last two decades. However, in recent years, governments in developing countries have increasingly been looking at leveraging private financing and efficiencies through PPP in non-transport social infrastructure sectors. While water and small energy projects have been around for some time, sub-national governments at provincial and local levels have turned to PPP projects, which are relatively smaller in size, for the provision of other essential services like solid waste management, energy-efficient street-lighting, primary healthcare and diagnostic services, municipal parking, development and maintenance of municipal parks, accommodation to students, and grain storage. These services, if delivered well, can have a transformative effect on the lives of citizens. While the benefits of private participation in the delivery of these services are undeniable, few projects have been undertaken relative to the substantial requirement. In addition, relatively little is known about the ones that have been, or are in the process of being, developed or implemented.
The objective of this paper is to understand what small-scale PPP projects look like; to examine at a preliminary level if there are overarching problems and constraints in undertaking these projects; and to use the preliminary observations and findings to inform further work in this area.