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A transitory regime : water supply in Conakry, Guinea

Listed author(s):
  • Menard, Claude
  • Clarke, George

Both consumers and the government benefited from reform of the water system in Conakry, Guinea, whose deterioration since independence had become critical by the mid-1980s. Less than 40 percent of Conakry's population had access to piped water - low even by regional standards - and service was intermittent, at best, for the few who had connections. The public agency in charge of the sector was inefficient, overstaffed, and virtually insolvent. In several ways, the reform introduced to the sector in 1989 under a World Bank-led project was remarkable. It showed that even in a weak institutional environment, where contracts are hard to enforce and political interference is common, private sector participation can improve sector performance. The authors discuss the mechanismsthat made progress possible and identify factors that inhibit the positive effects of reform. Water has become very expensive, the number of connections has increased very slowly, and conflicts have developed between SEEG (the private operator) and SONEG (the state agency). Among the underlying problems: a) The lack of strong, stable institutions. b) The lack of an independent agency capable of restraining arbitrary government action, regulating the private operator, and enforcing contractual arrangements. c) The lack of adequate conflict resolution mechanisms for contract disputes. d) Weak administrative capacity.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2362.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 2000
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2362
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  1. Menard, Claude & Clarke, George, 2000. "Reforming water supply in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire : mild reform in a turbulent environment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2377, The World Bank.
  2. Clarke, George & Menard, Claude & Zuluaga, Ana Maria, 2000. "The welfare effects of private sector participation in Guinea's urban water supply," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2361, The World Bank.
  3. Triche, Thelma, 1990. "Private participation in the delivery of Guinea's water supply services," Policy Research Working Paper Series 477, The World Bank.
  4. Mills, Bradford F. & Sahn, David E., 1997. "Labor Market Segmentation and the Implications for Public Sector Retrenchment Programs," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 385-402, December.
  5. Gisele Silva & Nicola Tynan & Yesim Yilmaz, 1998. "Private Participation in the Water and Sewerage Sector : Recent Trends," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11540, The World Bank.
  6. Leroy P. Jones & Pankaj Tandon & Ingo Vogelsang, 1990. "Selling Public Enterprises: A Cost/Benefit Methodology," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262600625.
  7. Jennifer A. Clapp, 1994. "Explaining policy reform implementation in Guinea: The role of both internal and external factors," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(3), pages 307-326, May.
  8. Dinar, A. & Subramanian, A., 1997. "Water Pricing Experiences," Papers 386, World Bank - Technical Papers.
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