In the 1990s, low and middle-income countries experimented extensively with public–private partnerships (PPPs) in water and wastewater. Concession-based contracts were the favored form of PPP. Although these experiments produced promising managerial innovations, they suffered from high rates of failure. These stemmed from the ambitious scope and hasty design of many concessions, which made them susceptible to macroeconomic shocks and political opportunism. A key lesson from the 1990s' experiments is that PPP contracts combining long-term financing and exploitation should be avoided in country settings combining weak governance with a volatile economy.

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