Steering Key Public Services in Africa towards sustainable development or towards failure? The Case of Water Management in Ghana

Gloria Agyemang, Matthew Egan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

121 Downloads (Pure)


In recent decades, governments in Africa have experienced relentless pressure from key supranational finance providers (including the World Bank, the IMF and others) to enter public private partnerships (PPPs). These PPPs take a range of forms and include partnerships to finance infrastructure developments, and partnerships to manage the provision of services such as water and energy. This pressure has persisted, despite growing evidence that the basic institutions necessary to sustain such commercial arrangements are often not present. This paper examines how in 2011, the Government of Ghana came to terminate a contract that had outsourced the management of its urban water supply since 2005. We draw on Broadbent and Laughlin’s notions of steering to analyse why the contract failed and explore how lessons learned from this failure have been incorporated in the recent PPP management. We argue that while the World Bank’s focus on privatisation has persisted with little compromise, governments like that in Ghana must counter these pressures with an equally relentless focus on the core mission of their public services.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 15 Mar 2016


  • PPP, Evaluation, Long term, Auditors General role
  • Developing economies
  • Water Governance

Cite this