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|Title: ||Roles and institutional arrangements for economic regulation of urban water services in sub-Saharan Africa|
|Authors: ||Mwanza, Dennis D.|
|Keywords: ||Economic regulation|
Urban water services
|Issue Date: ||2010|
|Publisher: ||© Mwanza, Dennis D.|
|Abstract: ||This research focused on determining the roles and institutional arrangements for economic
regulation of urban water services in Sub- Saharan Africa. Urban water service delivery mainly
supplied by state owned utilities is constrained due to many factors one of which is related to
insufficient or lack of a clear economic regulatory framework.
The research used a multiple case study approach and systematically analysed the roles and
institutional arrangements of economic regulation of urban water services in three countries of
Ghana, Mozambique and Zambia. Based on literature as the source of information, the research
developed the existing political and socio-economic environment in the different countries which
can affect the design and determination of the roles and institutional arrangements for economic
regulation. A further analysis was made of the perceptions on the roles and institutional
arrangements of the regulatory framework in the Sub-Saharan African context through a
questionnaire distributed beyond the three case countries. The study obtained primary data from
focus group discussions, key informant interviews, official documents and observations. Lessons
obtained through literature from regulatory institutions in other continents have also been included
and these are Jamaica, Latvia, Jakarta in Indonesia, and England and Wales.
The factors which can affect the roles and institutional arrangements of economic regulation of
urban water services were divided into three groups as: including country governance, socioeconomic
and sectoral factors. Country governance factors, which include political stability and
fragility, are a key factor in the decision of whether to establish a regulatory agency. On the other
hand, socio-economic factors influence the focus or areas which must not be ignored by economic
regulation. The third type of factors which include the robustness of a policy framework, and
performance levels of utilities, affect the effectiveness and efficiency of an economic regulator.
Based on the evidence from the research, economic regulation in Sub-Saharan Africa should
address five key roles, which are [i] approval of tariffs that will lead to service providers achieving
commercial viability, [ii] "consumer protection" [iii] monitoring and enforcing performance standards,
[iv] setting up of a knowledge bank on urban water services, and [v] ensuring that the poor gain
sustained access to water services. There are a number of specific regulatory functions within each
role. Sub-Saharan African countries are in a unique situation where the urban poor comprise as much as 60% of the urban population and so cannot be ignored in the design of a regulatory
The conclusion from this research is that in order to achieve the perceived benefits of economic
regulation of urban water services in Sub-Saharan Africa, and subject to conducive and
appropriate political and socio-economic environment, the more appropriate institutional
arrangements is an autonomous regulatory agency. The autonomy of the regulatory agency will be
enhanced if it has its own legal status, and is able to develop, manage and control its own budget
financed from a regulatory fee charged on the regulated water providers. Governments should be
willing to relinquish regulatory decision making powers to this non-political and non-governmental
body. The reporting and appointing mechanisms for the board could also have an influence on the
autonomy of the regulator.
The research further concludes that economic regulation of urban water services is a necessary
but perhaps not sufficient condition for efficient and effective delivery of urban water services. It is
not a panacea to the enormous problems of urban water services but can play a very effective role.
The research has further found that it is too early to determine the impact of utility regulation on the
performance levels of utilities in those countries that have a clearly defined regulatory framework.
Utility regulation is still in its infancy in Sub-Saharan Africa and its impact is therefore a subject for
|Description: ||A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.|
|Appears in Collections:||PhD Theses (Civil and Building Engineering)|
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