Market-based approaches in water and sanitation: The role of entrepreneurship
Interest in market-based approaches to solving development challenges continues to grow. The water and sanitation sector is no exception, although discussion has been coloured by experience with public-private partnerships (PPPs). Yet the number of PPP contracts in the developing world is very limited, especially by comparison to the multitude of small, often informal, enterprises active in water or sanitation. With fewer than half of Africans connected to water or sewerage networks, arguably it is these smaller providers, many entrepreneurial in nature, that are most relevant to the development community. Whilst the existence of these providers has been known for some time, a workable modus operandi for engaging with them is still being developed. There are significant political and economic challenges to integrating them within public sector programmes. This article explores the different markets in water and sanitation provision and the roles that entrepreneurship plays. It argues that, with global interest in social entrepreneurship rising, the water and sanitation sector is well placed to capitalize on a hidden strength.