The potential impact of public-private partnerships

in developing the small to medium sector in Zimbabwe



By Dauglas Halimani, Tariro Mazava, Farai Don Dzapasi

Department of Banking and Finance
Great Zimbabwe University

Masvingo, Zimbabwe




Public-private partnerships (hereafter referred to as PPPs) are in their infancy stage in Zimbabwe although they have existed in other parts of the world for decades. However, in the face of declining government revenue and the parallel depreciation of our infrastructure, PPPs appear to offer a solution to the infrastructure challenges facing Zimbabwe. Traditionally these PPPs have been undertaken by large corporations which have the capacity in technology and financial resources. The participation of small to medium enterprises (hereafter called SMEs) in PPPs has been low despite the role SMEs play in the economy in terms of employment creation, poverty and inequality reduction.  PPPs provide an opportunity for Zimbabwe and other developing countries to develop a viable SME sector. Therefore, there is need for government to encourage the participation of SMEs in PPPs. This can enable governments in developing countries to tap into the potential that PPPs have for solving socio-economic challenges affecting developing countries such as unemployment and poverty. There is a need to rethink on the models used to execute PPPs as the traditional model discourages the participation of SMEs because of lack of technological know-how and inadequate finances. There is therefore a need to find means to encourage SMEs participation in PPPs.

Problem Statement

SMEs play an important role in the economic development and growth of an economy through job creation, offering diversified and innovative products and services in an economy. However, the participation of SMEs in PPPs is very limited and there is need to find strategies to increase the participation of SMEs as a strategy to spread economic opportunities. The traditional models of PPPs underestimate the potential impact the PPPs can have in creating a viable SME sector that can create employment and provide income for the poor while addressing the infrastructure backlogs.

Research Objectives

The research sought to find out how PPP projects in Zimbabwe can help SME development. Furthermore, the research sought to identify strategies that can increase the participation of SMEs in PPP projects.

Research Questions

  1. How can PPPs assist in the development of SMEs in Zimbabwe?
  2. What strategies can be implemented to increase SME participation in PPP projects?

Research Methodology

The research methodology employed for this study is the mixed-method. This method encompasses desktop research where a review of literature is done as well as survey where questionnaires and interviews are used to gather information and some elements of quantitative method to analyze data gathered.

Literature review

Definition of PPPs

The definition of public-private partnership is wide. However, the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF define PPPs as arrangements where the private sector supplies infrastructure assets and services that traditionally have been provided by the government. This definition accommodates the various types of arrangements under the PPPs. Farrugia and Orr (2008) define PPPs in terms of participation of the private sector in infrastructure and in this respect, PPPs are often referred to as “private finance initiative”, public-private partnership, alternative financing and procurement or performance –based infrastructure”. Grimsey and Lewis define PPPs as arrangements whereby private parties participate in, or provide support for, the provision of infrastructure and PPP projects results in public infrastructure being delivered by a private entity on a contractual basis. De Bettignies and Ross argue that universal definition is not possible because the term is used in slightly different ways that result in a precise definition not being possible.


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How to cite this paper: Halimani, D.; Mavaza, T.; Dzapasi, F. (2019). The potential impact of public-private partnerships in developing the small to medium sector in Zimbabwe; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue XI, December.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/pmwj88-Dec2019-Halimani-potential-of-public-private-partnerships-in-zimbabwe.pdf



About the Authors

Dauglas Halimani

Great Zimbabwe University
Masvingo, Zimbabwe



Dauglas Halimani is 36 years old and a lecturer at Great Zimbabwe University since 2014. He holds a master’s degree in Banking and Financial Services from National University of Science and Technology as well as Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Finance from Great Zimbabwe University. He is a final year Bachelor of Laws student with the University of South Africa. His interests span the areas of commerce and law.  He can be contacted dhalimani@gzu.ac.zw


Tariro Mavaza

Great Zimbabwe University
Masvingo, Zimbabwe



Tariro Mavaza is a Lecturer in the Munhumutapa School of Commerce, Department of Banking and Finance, the Great Zimbabwe University.  He previously worked for Zimbabwe Revenue Authority as a Revenue Official. His areas of research are: Financial markets, Revenue Collection Systems I, Corporate Governance, Quality Management Systems and Project Management. He has published three research papers in International and Regional Journals on Total Quality Management and Corporate governance. Email address: tmavaza@gzu.ac.zw


Farai Dzapasi

Great Zimbabwe University
Masvingo, Zimbabwe


Farai Dzapasi is a lecturer in the Department of Banking and Finance at the Great Zimbabwe University. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Finance and Master of Commerce in Finance from Great Zimbabwe University.