by Penelope Sanyu
Ugandans desire to live in a country where all the citizens can enjoy a produc- tive life with gainful employment, access to education and the right to quality healthcare. This desire is reflected in the national vision, Uganda Vision 2040, and the national vision statement approved by Cabinet in 2007: “A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 Years” (National Planning Authority 2023, III). The marker will be movement from low-income to middle-income status, from per capita income of $506 to per capita income of $9,500 (National Planning Authority, 2023).
The mainstream narrative asserts that it is an impossible feat to achieve especially in social infrastructure sectors like health delivery and education if left to the government alone. It is assumed that the private sector has a major role to play. Based on a review of experience in Uganda and other African countries, I will argue that given the history and experience of private sector engagement in public service delivery, public-private partnerships (PPPs) can only play a role in the context of people-centred robust laws and policies that consider the plethora of implications of such models for the poor, particularly women.While the public is important in the delivery of services, Awor et al., in a justification of PPPs, posit that partnerships are most “justified when traditional ways of working independently have a limited impact on a problem” (2017, 152). They further stress how important it is to note that PPPs do not involve divestiture of public interests or entities and that they are distinct from privatisation.
Governments of developed and developing countries have increasingly adopted PPPs based on the assumption that they will expand access to higher quality services by leveraging capital, managerial capacity, and know-how from the private sector. Originally confined to the traditional infrastructure sectors of transport, water, and energy, PPPs are increasingly applied in social
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