Question 2

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Do you know which contribution or role you seek from government?

This might help you find out

Why is this important?

What do you mean by role and contribution?

How did other partnerships do this?

Suggestions for further reading


This might help you find out

Do you need government to contribute to the partnership to:


Why is this important?

Organizations enter into PPPs because they seek complementarity of resources, competencies, and assets. In general and ideal terms, the strength of the public sector for PPPs stems from its legal authority, the mandate that it has to act directly with (or delegate responsibility to) other stakeholder groups, its legitimacy, and its control of resources. To map out the most important skills and assets of the respective public actor helps organizations to identify the most relevant role of the Public P for their PPP.


What do you mean by ‘role’ and ‘contribution’?

Actors are often prescribed potential roles according to their presumed contribution to a partnership. In this regard, the contributions of the public sector to PPPs can be clustered around four key roles: supply and scale PPPs; embed and enable PPPs; facilitate and convene PPPs; and promote and coordinate PPPs. Such roles vary for different public actors. For example, national governments may play an enabling role by providing important legal and institutional frameworks for partnership work, in addition to supplying the PPP with financial and material resources. By setting the policy agenda, governments can inspire, make possible, and facilitate both partnerships and their objectives. What may be the core contribution of one public actor can be an incentive to partner for another public organization that lacks this specific asset. Besides facilitating PPPs by providing financial and technical support, public development agencies have the ability to broker partnerships through their convening power and neutral position in PPPs. They can also coordinate the relationship with others, promote the project, and contribute to the institutional capacity of actors. Public sector agencies – in particular public development agencies – can influence actors and provide incentives to achieve agreement. Public actors can play multiple roles in a PPP, and these roles may shift and change throughout the process of partnering. It is, however, important that the Public P is involved in the negotiations at an early phase. In addition, when a PPP involves multiple Public Ps, the variety of roles performed by different public agencies needs to be coordinated.


How did other partnerships do this?

Enable & embed:

In the beginning, and throughout the partnership, partners seek public partners to enable and embed their project

Illustration: An example of enabling is governmental certification and quality control of new products and inputs. While the project of Agrico to vertically integrate the potato chain in Kenya was conceived and convened on the level of central government, the PPP needed to engage with another Public P to test and certify the potatoes—the parastatal Kenya Health Plant Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).


Facilitate & convene:

The engagement of public actors usually begins during the design phase of the PPP, with central government typically getting involved to facilitate and convene private and public partners.

Illustration: An example is the integrated water management and knowledge transfer in the Sisili Kulpawn Basin, part of the IWAD Ghana Ltd. project (see the in-depth case study), which identified its partner, the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), through the facilitation of the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Dutch Embassy in Accra.


Promote & coordinate:

Another important role of public actors, which is of interest to PPPs, is to promote and coordinate PPPs. Working towards common goals can be an important reason to cooperate closely with public actors.


Within the Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition partnership, the companies involved needed the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Dairy Board not only to certify their products and lower the VAT on fortified dairy, but also to market and promote them to Kenyan consumers.

An example of coordination by government is provided by the horticultural project in Ghana, led by CABI Ghana:

As a legitimate yet neutral player, the Ghanaian government has an overview, and can therefore help avoid overlap, which is key to harmonizing the initiatives of different donors and avoiding duplication and a mosaic of different standards and initiatives


Supply & Scale:

Public partners can provide services, offer oversight in PPPs, and as such supply and scale PPPs


In rare cases, governments such as the Ghanaian government co-finance the project, such as in the case of IWAD Ltd. Ghana irrigation project in the northern region. The government parastatal SADA co-finances 6,8% of the total budget and does so with a view to scaling the PPP, in order to attract new PPPs to the region.

Suggestions for further reading


Pfisterer, S. et al, (2011), ‘Overview of available country level data indicators relevant for government portfolio & cross-sector partnerships’, first draft


Van Tulder, R. (2011), Positioning the MDGs as societal issues: issues, responsibilities, partnerships (second draft)


Van Tulder, R. with Pfisterer, S. (2015), Creating partnering space: exploring the right fit for sustainable development partnerships (in draft)


Van Tulder, R., How does context define partnering space? Short note on how to portray and how to measure this, internal document, file: partnering space


Cross Sector Partnership Formation: what to consider before you start?, PrC 2012


Guide for developing an overview on partnership models in a country, PrC


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