One way in which international water operator partnerships can contribute to capacity development is through the exchange of experiences with water institutions in different countries. This paper looks at a partnership between water operators in the Netherlands and Malawi to see to what extent institutional experiences in the Netherlands can contribute to capacity development of the Lilongwe Water Board in Malawi. For this, it combines insights from policy transfer, with a conceptual framework based on the Institutional Analysis and Development framework. Stylized game theoretic models are used to analyze in-depth the institutional (dis)incentives that contribute to improved performance for customers. Experiences in the Netherlands are analyzed by studying four specific action situations, such as asset management at drinking water company Vitens NV. Potential lessons are derived from this, which are evaluated for potential transfer to Malawi. The analysis suggests ways in which improved information gathering and data management can support allocation of investment and budgets for operation and maintenance. Furthermore, it suggests ways to increase the frequency of encounters between government and financing institutions and water utilities, as well as the use of a system of benchmarking to provide a platform for sharing best practices and to create competition.

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