What are the different forms of divestiture? Which methods of privatization have been used and to what extent have they been successful? These and many other questions are addressed in a publication just issued by UNCTAD, entitled Comparative Experiences with Privatization - Policy Insights and Lessons Learned(1).
The publication (346 pages) provides both policy and practical guidance for policy makers, experts involved in designing and implementing privatization programmes and privatization practitioners. It is of equal interest for the larger public, as it explains what privatization is about, how privatization programmes are designed and what the stakes are for the national economy.
This nature of the publication illustrates the desire of the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Rubens Ricupero, to focus on research and policy analysis that is action-oriented and produces tools for policy-makers. The guide takes a pragmatic approach to privatization and combines research with the product of an intergovernmental process in UNCTAD of the exchanges of lessons learned and insights gained from a wide variety of country experiences. The latter has helped to identify "best practices" in privatization that are particularly helpful for policy-makers.
The survey is presented in a handy book format, richly illustrated with boxes and tables. It is divided into eight chapters:
- Privatization Objectives and Strategy,
- Framework for Privatization,
- Forms of Privatization and their Financing,
- Privatization of Infrastructure and Public Services,
- Privatization of the Financial Sector,
- Social Aspects of Privatization,
- Privatization Issues and the Environment and
- Results of Privatization.
A wide range of important issues, including economic, financial, legal and environmental and social issues, have been dealt with, drawing upon independent research as much as upon the results of the exchanges of experiences among national experts in UNCTAD. Data and practical examples are extracted from information made available in country studies to UNCTAD by the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, and Venezuela.
An important chapter on the assessment of the results of privatization has also been included, as well as a 50-point checklist of "Indicative Elements for Consideration in Formulating Privatization Programmes", devised and adopted by privatization experts who met in UNCTAD.