Supporting small providers in poor and underserved communities

Small private providers play an important role as investors, developers, and managers of water supplies and are often an important link in the service delivery chain reaching areas such as poor and peri-urban areas that have proved difficult for formal utilities.

The World Bank helps optimize the role of small providers to extend the reach of local utilities; for example, through bulk water retailing, service contracts, and regulatory oversight. The Bank also supports efforts to help these entrepreneurs professionalize their business by obtaining permits and operating licenses and accessing financing.

For example, as part of the Urban Water Supply Project, partially funded by the Bank,  the Cambodian government pursued innovative ways of involving domestic private service providers to provide clean water by adopting a laissez-faire approach. It is formalizing these service providers and experimenting with a range of contracting approaches, enabling it to evaluate how different models have worked in the Cambodian context and to combine their strengths.

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