Accepted paper:

Actually existing public-private partnerships: Nigerian state governments and Trust Funds


Portia Roelofs (St Anne's College, Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

This paper uses the diversity of 'trust fund' models adopted by sub-national governments in Nigeria to show the flexibility of 'really existing' public private partnerships and how power relations and outcomes vary according to how PPPs are mobilised for different political projects.

Paper long abstract:

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) highlight the fundamental disagreements that persist over the ultimate aims of governance reform whether in developing countries like Nigeria or the West. Where the pro-market good governance camp sees PPPs as a way to harness the efficiency of the private sector for the goal of public interest, others - for whom democratic institutionalisation is the aim - see it as a liability for corruption and a disruption to rule-bound decision-making by a Weberian state. By contrast really existing PPPs in Nigeria defy simple dichotomies of public and private: diverse actors come together in a patch-work or 'bricolage' to deliver services, arbitration and governance.

Since the widely publicised success of the Lagos state Security Trust Fund, other states in Nigeria have adopted the 'trust fund' model: a board of trustees, comprising businessmen and civil servants, fund-raising to secure donations from the private sector for public services. Across the country similar 'on-paper' institutional arrangements have led to divergent outcomes in practice. In Oyo State alone, the health, education and security trust funds represent three different models: ranging from philanthropic "old boys" groups competing to out-do each other in donations to their alma maters to highly professionalized collaborations between military staff and transnational private security companies. Based on scoping research including desk reviews and fieldwork, this paper will present work in progress on how power relations, and allocations of risks and benefits vary across cases, showing the fluidity and flexibility of the 'partnership' model to meet different political agendas.

panel D4
Partnerships in practice: power and inequality in development partnerships with the private sector