Public private partnerships in development cooperation - an empirical analysis of key success factors based on case studies and a survey

Research subject of this thesis are Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in development cooperation. First, the framework is set by positioning PPPs within the existing range of development cooperation tools. Second, success mechanisms in partnerships are identified based on theoretical considerations. Outcomes of both steps are taken into account in the twofold empirical part. The first part comprises a study of three PPP cases conduced in the framework of the PPP facility (“develoPPP”), the leading PPP programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The second empirical part comprises a survey amongst partners with direct PPP project experience. Key findings are summarised along three a priori formulated research questions. These questions build on each other. They broaden the understanding of the subject step by step – from a positioning in the relevant framework to understanding functional mechanisms to finally approaching general conclusions concerning the overall performance of PPPs in development cooperation. To sum up, PPPs in development cooperation seem a highly valuable complement to the existing range of development cooperation tools. The potential of PPPs in development cooperation has been realised in particular by European development policy makers as shown by the growing range of offered programmes. It is not the triggering of additional financial resources from the private sector only which determines PPP projects’ success – defined as the efficient delivery of project outcomes with the potential of mid to long term, sustainable positive impact – but rather a more complex set of factors. Typical PPP projects of the type analysed in the empirical parts deal with complex content in a rather challenging local environment. What might make PPP projects more likely to succeed on the levels of output and potentially impact is the existing commercial interest of the participating companies, be it direct (i.e. deriving from the project output) or indirect (e.g. deriving from reputational gains). The commercial interest represents a “filter” concerning the feasibility of projects. It applies since it can be assumed that companies following commercial interests would not get involved in projects that seem unlikely to generate the desired outputs, even if the commercial risk is reduced by cost sharing with a public partner. At the same time, the final impact of PPP projects is not per se higher, more sustainable or more congruent with development policy objectives, compared to non-PPP development cooperation projects.


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