Privatization of solid waste collection services as tool to sustainable waste management in developing country cities. Lessons from the case of Kigali

  • nipius5
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Privatization of solid waste collection services as tool to sustainable waste management in developing country cities. Lessons from the case of Kigali

For Many developing countries privatization of solid waste collection has been thought to be a solution to the lack of financial and managment capacities on the side of the Governments. This has triggered the involvement of local private sector operators in sanitation services. However, PPP has been promoted but few studies have been done to assess factors that explain the performance of both actors and what type of business model is suitable mainly for sanitation poor countries. There are different business models that can resort from the PPP framework depending on the governance level but also depending on the capacities of private operators. In addtion, the perception of the citizens is of great importance as it can influence, even change the developed model. Hence, the need of an adaptive business model which is flexible to factor related changes. This school of thoughts triggers my research which first aims to assess factors that influence the effectiveness of private operators, external contextual factors which determine the working environment and main citizens perceptions such as their willingness to pay. Therefore, this factors will give the image of the trend of privatization system of sanitation service in developing countries. From this, a flexible business model will be developed incorporating the three main key actors (Local authority, citizens and local private operators.

My message is then to call for any advice or any organization that would be interested in this research and cooperate with me to make it practicable as it is currently limited to academic level due to the financial limit. But my ambition is to develop a business model that would improve the sanitation problem related to poor solid waste management in sub-Saharan cities. The case study is Kigali city as role model for many cities in Africa as now it is ranked as 3rd cleanest cities. This may prove that privatization is working well. But it is not! some challenges remain! Complaints on service frequency! But at least the commitment of the government is a guarantee to welcome any improvement. So, Kigali city can be taken as a pilot phase for my business model which can be customize to many African cities.

Please find attached the summary of research theoretical conceptual framework.

Best regards

Pius


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  • HAPitot
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Re: Privatization of solid waste collection

Hi Pius,

you may wish to also check the municipality of Soroti in Uganda. They have some experience with private companies for garbage collection, and they also do composting of organic waste and recyling of some plastic items. There is a motivated administration under a competent mayor.

Then, there is Takataka Solutions of Nairobi. It's a private company that collects MSW and tries to recycle as much of the waste as possible.

Kind regards,

Hanns-André

Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany
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  • muench
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Re: Privatization of solid waste collection

Dear Pius,

Good to see your research on solid waste management on this forum, as solid waste management is part of sanitation (even if we often forget that)! And there is probably much to learn from the solid waste sector who seem to be further along when it comes to source separation and reuse.

You mentioned Kigali, is that where you are from?
I was in Kigali for the AfricaSan3 in 2011 and I was "blown away" by the cleanliness and safety of that city, something I really didn't expect. OK, I didn't explore all parts of the city but the initial impression was very very good. I was told one important factor that has helped is the very strict ban on plastic bags in this country?

Which other cities are you planning to look at in your literature review?

Please keep us updated regarding the progress of your work and use the forum to get answers to questions that may arise in the course of your research. And don't forget to post your final MSc thesis in the end! :-)

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • nipius5
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Re: Privatization of solid waste collection (Sanitation as a business and business models)

Dear Elisabeth,

Thank you very much for your feedback. Yes I'm from Rwanda and working for one of the leading company in solid waste collection and transportation. Due to time and budget limitation I'll assess the privatization performance in Kigali as case study to reflect other developing countries' cities. But, for the literature review I'll explore privatisation outcome for different cities such as Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, etc. Do you think I can include other cities? Of course, I'll need inputs from the member about privatization performance indicators which I'm struggling to formulate now. I'll post my input request tomorrow on the platform and for sure you'll get my final MSc report.

About Kigali the improvement many factors are shaping the cleanliness of Kigali including plastic bags banning policy, political willingness focusing on environmental services, may be privatization which I have also to assess its contribution. However, the privatization has been recently adopted as a way to sustain and improve sanitation services. My research is then to assess its performance by analyzing the compliance and performance of key actors i.e. private sector, citizens and some of regulatory agencies and administrative structures directly related to the provision of solid waste collection in Kigali as explained in my research framework.

I'm now defining key performance indicators that will help me to assess if privatisation is making its promise such economic viability, environmental viability, service quality (frequency, etc), operational capacity, contract respect between local authority who represents the public agency and private operators... I'm waiting from you input to define these indicators...!!

Stay in touch,

Pius

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  • nipius5
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Re: Privatization of solid waste collection services as tool to sustainable waste management in developing country cities. Lessons from the case of Kigali

Since the 1970s, many countries have undergone privatization of State-owned Enterprises and public services, as one way to overcome the limitations of the public sector in financial and managerial capacities. Various forms of privatization are common in solid waste management from open competition to service contracts. But many developing countries, particularly African countries, have adopted a monopolistic approach where a zonal monopoly is provided to a private firm, competing not to provide service to individuals but to the whole monopoly and Rwanda is no exclusion.

Kigali, the Rwanda capital city, is the only city in Africa where solid waste collection service is fully provided by the private sector and the bill submitted directly to the households since 2012. The involvement of private sector in solid waste collection in Kigali has been triggered by the shortcomings of the Kigali City Council (KCC) to provide the service alone. While the service quality has been evidenced to improve with the growing involvement of the informal private sector, the financial viability of both evolving informal service providers and KCC is a problem associated with the loss of control of the latter on both service providers and households. Since 2011, KCC has proven the willingness to improve the situation from the recognition of the role played by informal sector up to the monopoly privatization which is into force since 2012. The implementation of the monopoly privatization has been initiated by creating monopoly zones and involving RURA as an independent regulator to have control on service providers and households.

The creation of monopoly zones has followed the administrative structure of Kigali. This is the contrary for countries in the same region with Rwanda such as Tanzania, Kenya and other developing countries such as Ghana where monopoly zones were created without following administrative boundaries and one district could be served by more than one companies. Generally, Kigali, like other provinces of Rwanda, is subdivided into districts (Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, and Gasabo), districts into sectors and sectors into cells up to villages. Three assumptions have guided the selection of a sector as a monopoly zone. Firstly, although the capacity of local operators was weak, the KCC assumes that each operator can, at least, provide the good service to one sector. Secondary, aiming the equity in cost distribution at the same time ensuring the financial viability, the KCC assumes that a sector records high disparities in terms of income of households which can help companies to recover all involved costs even when a cross-subsidy for the urban poor community is applied. Finally, admitting the weak monitoring and management capacity for the public sector, the KCC assumes that this capacity is enough to manage the contract and control the service quality and performance of private operators in general at the sector level.

Some studies have been done on open competition privatization, but few have been done on the monopoly privatization. The author has initiated a study evaluating the impact and factors explaining variations in results, of privatization of solid waste collection services in the cities of developing countries using the City of Kigali as a case study.

However, after four years of implementation, no study has been done to evaluate the outcome and sustainability of this form of privatization in Kigali. This study aims to explore the mechanisms of collection service in Kigali after privatization and key individual and environmental factors shaping the outcome. To explore the outcome of privatization of solid waste collection and to explain variations in the outcome for different operational zones (sectors), a framework combining the elements of sustainability for solid waste management and the determinants of the sustainability has been used. For the determinants of sustainability, the study has focused on four concepts: the capacity (physical and human) of service providers; the involvement of households; physical and general characteristics of the operational zone (sector); and service provision regulation such as contracting mechanisms, licensing processes, local authority inclusivity at planning level. For the elements of sustainability, the study focused on the three concepts: Environmental sustainability (waste ending into disposal sites, waste separation at household level and recycling, sanitary conditions and waste overflows); financial sustainability (cost recovery using user charges, reduced transactions costs and zero subsidy from the public sector); and social sustainability (fair cost distribution through cross-subsidy for urban poor community, extra costs to households, service quality and affordability). The data for this study have been collected from six private companies, six sectors (operational zones), hygiene and sanitation for KCC and water and sanitation for RURA departments where solid waste collection service falls, the author’s field observation in sectors and at the dump site, the secondary data from published and unpublished reports, guidelines and solid waste strategic plan (2012) and the discussion groups with companies’ user charges collectors and households. Forty (40) households were selected from each sector and a total sample size of 256 respondents was the target of this study.

Based on the objective of the privatization aiming to improve social aspects namely cleanliness of the city, inclusivity of urban poor community, and improve service quality (frequency and collection schedules), it is concluded that privatization has made its promise. But considering the ultimate goal of the private sector of making the profit, there is a need to improvement as companies are not making the full cost recovery. To fill the gap in cost recovery companies are use various source of income such as the money collected from solid waste collection service provided to commercial activities (hotels, restaurants, offices,...), informal recycling activities, cleaning services, etc. This shows that the privatization has not lead to the financial viability of service providers although this needs deep analysis as companies lack accurate financial information. This shows also that the integration of all waste streams and other environmental sanitation services can be a solution to financial sustainability.

The same study has evidenced that privatization has not led to environmental sustainability as more than 90% of collected waste ends into the dumpsite with related environmental hazards (water pollution through leachate, GHGs from organic waste,...). As far as more than 70% of disposed of waste is organic, there is an opportunity to reduce environmental hazards by promoting composting. This study has recommended the cross-ministerial or cross-sectoral partnership such as a partnership between Ministry of infrastructure (having solid waste management in charge) and Ministry of Agriculture (having the compost market).

All in all, the privatization of solid waste collection in Kigali has improved environmental health and cleanliness of the city although there is an emergent need to improve financial and environmental aspects to ensure the overall sustainability of the system.

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