Andrew Nickson is Reader in Public Management at the International Development Department, The University of Birmingham. He has extensive worldwide experience of teaching, research and consultancy on public administration reform, decentralization, and the regulation of privatized public utilities. He has had long-term attachments to the Ministry of Economic Planning, Sierra Leone and as advisor to the Nepal Administrative Staff College. From 1992-98 he directed a European Union regional training program for senior public administrators in Latin America and from 1999-2000 he directed a European Union Project for State Reform in Paraguay. His most recent research has focused on decentralization and poverty reduction, private sector participation in urban water supply, and the relationship between language, governance and participation. He is a regular contributor for the Economist Intelligence Unit, Oxford Analytica and Jane’s Information Group.