NGOs have expressed “dismay” at the World Bank’s proposed private sector strategy. In a late October letter they argued that it would “have damaging implications for citizens’ rights to basic services (e.g., health, education, and water)”. The Bank is due to decide on the strategy in mid-November, a month earlier than promised (see Bretton Woods Update 24). Consultation has been limited, despite the importance of these issues to many NGOs.
The strategy proposes further privatisation of service delivery, and new ways for the Bank to make its financing available to private companies. Particularly in countries with weak competition and regulation the NGO letter argues that “firms, in their drive for profit, generally neglect service delivery to the poor”. The strategy “is based on flawed assumptions about the private sector” and calls for further research to “highlight the impacts of these schemes on poor people when they are managed by different categories of service providers, including multinational corporations, small-scale firms and NGOs”.
Public Services International Research Unit has also published a detailed response to the World Bank’s draft strategy.