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This paper elaborates on the current approaches in viewing the private sector as either a partner or a separate entity in delivering such basic social services as education, healthcare, water and sanitation. The emergence of the non-governmental sector, particularly not-for-profit NGOs, as an active participant in the delivery of social services is extensively analyzed. This paper also provides an analysis of the growing importance of the for-profit private sector in the delivery of social services among subgroups of countries in the region. This paper concludes by providing some policy options to develop effective national policies and suggests a regional framework for further cooperation in promoting the role of the private sector in delivering social services.