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Public-private partnerships and infrastructure

New battlegrounds in development finance

The popularity of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to support infrastructure development in emerging countries is growing worldwide. The G20 backs PPPs to boost global growth and create jobs. The BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) see them as a way to build essential infrastructure quickly and cheaply. PPPs’ new appeal may redefine not just development economics, but also the overall relationship between rich and poor countries – though not necessarily for the better, write Nancy Alexander and Francis A. Kornegay.


The United Nations hopes that infrastructure PPPs will provide the means to realize its post-2015 global development agenda. A “Report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing” to the UN General Assembly would massively scale up PPPs: “Engagement in isolated PPPs, managed in silos, should be avoided. The investing public entity should carry out a number of projects simultaneously and thereby take a portfolio approach for pooling funds for multiple projects…” (para. 139) ...

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Find in this article:

Monitoring the PPP bandwagon
New race to the bottom?
Offsetting the influence of transnational corporations

The authors:

Nancy Alexander is a program officer at the Heinrich Böll Foundation (North America). Francis A. Kornegay is senior research fellow at the Institute for Global Dialogue at the University of South Africa.

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