The Private Provision of Public Goods in Kenya
The Adam Smith Institute has published an excerpt from a project I’ve been working on based on research in Kenya’s ‘informal sector’. The article is about private security firms that provide security subscription packages, run a full service fire company and, yes, deliver the mail. Those interested in competitive governance may find it interesting:
For BABS, security means much more than guards and cameras. Kenya’s dysfunctional State has failed to provide many services traditionally considered the purview of “public” authorities. BABS runs a growing courier service, delivering domestic and international mail. I ask Ouma what a person could have delivered. “Anything,” he retorts nonchalantly.
BABS also consults for companies to protect themselves against industrial espionage and even helps industry comply with safety and health regulations. BABS has a staff of private investigators and can even be hired to do forensics: physical and digital.
More surprising still, they supply and maintain all the equipment and staff necessary to operate a full-service firefighting outfit. Contracts are typically annual and tied to individual properties – not neighborhoods or cities. BABS will work with your insurance company to lower premiums if you take out a contract with their fire service, since some municipal services are unreliable or just nonexistent.