Pro-poor concessions for sustainable water services

Most of the billions of people without drinking water or sanitation are very poor. While private-sector companies are becoming increasingly involved with infrastructure provision in developing countries, their contracts for water and sanitation services tend to forget the social aspects of providing services to poor people. As such, public—private partnerships in particularly poor countries are unlikely to be sustainable in the longer term and UN targets for improvements will fail to be met. Based on a four-year research project in Asia, Africa and Latin America, this paper explains how concession contracts need to be more suited to the needs, resources and aspirations of local impoverished communities—in other words, to be more pro-poor.