This is the first in the new Lessons of Experience series from IFC. Privatization is now mainstream. During the 1980s, the main proponents of privatization were nations of the developed world together with a number of Latin American nations. In the 1900s, however, the popularity of privatization widened considerably, spurred by the transition from communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. A majority of nations including many in South and East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa now have privatization programs of their own. IFC has been closely involved throughout this period. It has advised client governments and state-owned enterprises on divestiture, and supplied post-privatization project finance for investment programs that are an integral part of making privatization work. This transaction-level experience before and after privatization is the subject of this report. The report draws conclusions about whether privatization works and how to make it work best. Examples range from the rapid transfer to private hands of the bulk of Russia's large-scale industry, through a concession to operate and expand the water and sanitation system in Buenos Aires, to the sale of a farm and factory in war-torn Mozambique.