The provision of public goods in Niger involves in almost all cases complex forms of co-production, with several actors and ‘modes of governance’ contributing within a variety of delivery configurations. How well goods are provided, and whether key bottlenecks in provision are able to be overcome, depends on the precise terms on which this collaboration occurs. This article explores these issues drawing on fieldwork carried out in three urban sites in 2009. Focusing on provision in the fields of water and sanitation, safe motherhood, public security and markets, it suggests the importance of formal or informal coordination mechanisms; the role of ‘local reformers’ in exploiting windows of opportunity created by the initiatives of development partners; a variety of kinds of ‘informal privatisation’ and de facto co-funding of public services, and the ability of private corporate bodies to take effective charge of some types of public goods provision.
IDS Bulletin (2011) 42 (2) 32-42 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2011.00209.x]