Buyer Beware A Critical Assessment of Public-Private Partnerships in Ireland and the Global South

Our latest research, Buyer Beware: A Critical Assessment of Public-Private Partnerships in Ireland and the Global South, launches on 26th September 2019.

Link to the report:

In May 2019 it was announced that the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan was set to cost the state approximately €2.97 billion euro. Despite this investment, it would not result in the state owning any of the infrastructure built under the plan. Coming after years of delays and months of Ministerial meetings, controversial private dinners and high profile resignations, this was far from the first controversy to emerge relating to the Irish state’s use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).

In 2008, as the global financial crash began to take root in Dublin, a high profile Public Private Partnership worth €900 million collapsed. The contracted developer, McNamara Constructions, withdrew because projected profit margins had dropped. The collapse of the PPP caused delays lasting until this day to five separate inner city regeneration schemes, where public housing was demolished but has not yet been replaced. Ireland’s experiences are replicated in cases around the world. And yet the PPP remains a preferred option for the delivery of critical public infrastructure, both in many wealthy countries, and in lower- and middle-income countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Indeed, most prominently, the World Bank’s ‘billions to trillions’ strategy made the use of PPPs, and other mechanisms for ‘leveraging’ private finance using public money, a bedrock of its policies for financing public infrastructure in the Global South.

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