by Tatiana Gulnik T'15
In business schools, private corporations and governments don’t usually fit together as naturally as peanut butter and jelly. But during the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) panel at the BSC conference on Thursday, three seasoned panelists described how collaborations between companies and public entities can deliver valuable public services to countries where they may otherwise be lacking. PPPs allow governments to leverage the managerial expertise and financial resources of private corporations to build infrastructure, deliver energy/water sources, and provide other important social benefits. The upside for companies is access to emerging markets and financial returns.
A fascinating example of a PPP is Vodafone’s partnership with the National Ministry of Health in Mozambique. Vodafone has donated phones with a health records application that allows health practitioners in rural Mozambique to track patient treatment, collect data, and even remind and incentivize patients to follow up on care. This innovative application allows for paperless recordkeeping – leapfrogging over technology used in many developed countries.
Several of my classmates at Tuck are working with this pilot for their First Year Project (FYP). They will travel to Mozambique in a couple of weeks to conduct primary research before providing recommendations about how the pilot can be scaled to the rest of Mozambique and other African countries.
The panelists were unanimously optimistic on the growth of PPP opportunities in the future and suggested that there were ample opportunities for MBAs to get involved; particularly in the power, healthcare, and mobile technology sectors. Successful PPPs involve careful negotiation, so the ability to speak multiple languages, understand various cultures, and broker deals are valuable skills to have in this space.
I’m looking forward to learning more about PPPs and to hearing how the Tuck FYP with Vodafone in Mozambique turns out!
Panelists for the PPP panel, left to right: Curt Welling, Center for Global Business and Government and the Center for Business & Society; David Ferreira, GAVI Alliance; Frank Gunter, Associate Professor, Lehigh University; Moderator Matt Slaughter, Associate Dean for Faculty and Signal Companies' Professor of Management