Concession Agreement Definition: Understanding the Basics

A concession agreement is a legal contract between a government entity or a private company and an individual or organization. It is a type of public-private partnership (PPP) that allows private entities to operate and manage public infrastructure projects or services. The agreement typically involves the transfer of operational control and financial risks from the public sector to the private sector.

Concession agreements can be an effective way for governments to leverage private sector expertise and resources to build and maintain public infrastructure. They can also provide private sector entities with access to new markets and revenue streams. However, they also come with risks and challenges that need to be carefully considered before entering into an agreement.

Here are some key elements of a concession agreement:

Scope of Services: The agreement should clearly define the scope of services that the private entity will provide. This may include building, operating, and maintaining infrastructure such as highways, ports, airports, and water treatment plants. It may also include providing services such as waste management, public transportation, or energy generation.

Duration of the Agreement: The agreement should specify the duration of the concession, which may range from a few years to several decades. The duration will depend on the nature of the project and the financial arrangements between the parties.

Investment and Financing: The private entity may be required to make significant investments in the project, and the agreement should specify the financing arrangements for these investments. This may include loans, equity, or other forms of financing. The agreement should also outline the revenue sharing arrangements between the parties.

Performance Measures: The agreement should include clear performance measures and targets, and a mechanism for monitoring and enforcing compliance. This may include penalties for non-performance or incentives for exceeding performance targets.

Risk Allocation: The agreement should clearly allocate risks between the public and private sectors. This may include construction risks, operational risks, and financial risks.

Dispute Resolution: The agreement should include a mechanism for resolving disputes between the parties. This may include mediation, arbitration, or other forms of dispute resolution.


Concession agreements can be a useful tool for governments and private entities to collaborate on public infrastructure projects. However, they also require careful consideration and planning to ensure that the risks and benefits are fairly allocated between the parties. By understanding the basics of a concession agreement, you can evaluate the potential benefits and risks of entering into such an agreement.