Online Academic Summer School

Public-Private Partnerships in the Global South: Governance, Strategies and Public Policies

Key information

2 weeks
Start of programme
27 June - 8 July
Attendance mode
Online Learning
Online Learning

Course overview

Over the last about three decades, public-private partnerships (PPPs) evolved from a financing scheme to a vehicle for pursuing public policies in healthcare, education, infrastructure development, climate change and several other areas. The origins of PPPs can be traced to the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the UK in the early 1990’s, when the scheme helped fund infrastructure development and other projects while avoiding burdening the public budget. In the following decades, PPPs were progressively adopted in other countries and regions in the world, and they currently provide a vehicle for attaining public policy objectives – such as, for example, the Sustainable Development Goals – by combining resources and expertise from both the public and the private sectors. Yet, PPPs have a chequered performance record. Some PPPs successfully contributed accelerating development and improving public services, while others failed to deliver the expected performance and resulted in financial losses for the public purse. What makes PPPs successful? What can derail a PPP project? How can PPPs be effectively designed and managed?

This course aims to provide to participants the theoretical knowledge and practical skills for designing and managing PPPs. It will include theories about the effects of PPPs, the sources of disruption and failure of PPP projects, and for conditions and factors that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of PPPs. It will also stimulate the development of skills and capabilities to analyse scenarios, assess the viability of PPP schemes, delineate PPP projects and carry out the strategic and performance management of PPPs, especially in the context of the Global South. The course will cover the reasons for the adoption of PPPs, the principles and strategies for the design of PPPs including economic incentives and political factors, and issues of governance, management, sustainability and performance of PPPs. These topics will be taught via a combination of lectures, case studies of PPPs from countries in the Global South and exercises.

For more information, please see the course handbook:

What you will learn

At the end of a course, you will be able to:

  • Explain why PPPs can be used in order to attain policy goals
  • Explain what affects the performance of PPPs in both financial and sustainability dimensions
  • Explain what can undermine PPPs and how to prevent or mitigate adverse conditions or events
  • Design PPPs while taking into consideration economic, financial and governance aspects
  • Manage PPPs while taking into consideration the role of stakeholders and changing context conditions


Programme schedule

Week 1

  • PPPs as a public policy tool
  • Strategies for PPPs
  • The design of PPPs
  • The governance of PPPs
  • The management of PPPs

Week 2

  • PPPs and the achievement of SDGs
  • Cases of PPPs in healthcare
  • Cases of PPPs in education
  • Cases of PPPs in climate change
  • Cases of PPPs in infrastructure development

Sample reading list

  • Buso, M., & Stenger, A. (2018). Public-private partnerships as a policy response to climate change. Energy Policy, 119, 487-494.
  • Cui, C., Liu, Y., Hope, A., & Wang, J. (2018). Review of studies on the public–private partnerships (PPP) for infrastructure projects. International Journal of Project Management, 36(5), 773-794.
  • Engel, E., Fischer, R., & Galetovic, A. (2013). The basic public finance of public–private partnerships. Journal of the European economic association, 11(1), 83-111.
  • Hodge, G. A., & Greve, C. (2007). Public–private partnerships: an international performance review. Public administration review, 67(3), 545-558.
  • Iossa, E., & Martimort, D. (2015). The simple microeconomics of public‐private partnerships. Journal of Public Economic Theory, 17(1), 4-48.
  • Languille, S. (2017). Public Private partnerships in education and health in the global South: a literature review. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 33(2), 142-165.
  • Leigland, J. (2018). Public-private partnerships in developing countries: The emerging evidence-based critique. The World Bank Research Observer, 33(1), 103-134.
  • Warsen, R., Nederhand, J., Klijn, E. H., Grotenbreg, S., & Koppenjan, J. (2018). What makes public-private partnerships work? Survey research into the outcomes and the quality of cooperation in PPPs. Public
  • Management Review, 20(8), 1165-1185.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules .

Fees and funding



Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


  • Save £200 when if apply by 30th April
  • 10% discount if you apply for two courses over 4 weeks
  • 20% discount for SOAS Alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)
  • 20% discount for our partner institutions.

Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.