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Why we need indicators for infrastructure management

Rui Monteiro's picture

Business management requires the collection of a set of indicators — for instance, financial indicators (including full reporting on costs and revenues) and marketing indicators (including volume of demand and its trend, and non-financial performance indicators such as clients’ perceptions). Those indicators will inform day-to-day managerial decisions and strategic options.

But curiously, infrastructure management usually lacks the kind of strategic information that top managers always require. Public sector information systems typically focus on how much was spent on infrastructure (i.e., on roads, airports, ports, hospital building, school buildings), but rarely present data on the performance of that infrastructure. Only a few jurisdictions collect data on the quality of infrastructure, typically addressing more “visible” types of infrastructure, such as highways (levels of service) and bridges (structural soundness).

New ideas for financing American infrastructure: a conversation with Henry Petroski

Alison Buckholtz's picture
Henry Petroski, author of The Road Taken:
The History and Future
of America’s Infrastructure

Editor’s Note: Renowned engineer and historian Henry Petroski, author of the just-published The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure, has a unique perspective on public-private partnerships (PPPs). He spoke to the PPP Blog about why the U.S. is at a much earlier stage of PPP development than the rest of the world, how America’s infrastructure PPPs are different than other countries’, and which European PPP models are influencing American progress. It’s an especially timely issue for PPP Blog readers who were reminded of the state of American infrastructure by the sudden closure of the Washington, DC Metro (subway) system earlier this month.

Q: Why is the U.S. so much “younger” than the rest of the world when it comes to PPPs?  
 
Henry: In the U.S. during the 19th century, almost all our large infrastructure projects, like railroads, were created through private investment.  If someone wanted to build a bridge, a corporation would be formed, find financing, and proceed on that basis. Owners might need a government concession so that they could put the bridge where they wanted, but aside from that it was a purely private enterprise. The Ambassador Bridge, which has linked Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, since 1929, is a good example; it was privately financed and remains wholly privately owned.

Innovative Africa for a better tomorrow

Teodoro De Jesus Xavier Poulson's picture
Despite a decade of strong growth, Sub-Saharan Africa still faces a number of social and economic challenges. These range from access to education, off-the-grid electricity, clean water, job creation and public infrastructure. While there is no silver bullet, one word is inspiring millions – innovation.
 

10 candid career questions with PPP professionals – Isabel Chatterton

Isabel Chatterton's picture

Editor's Note: 
Welcome to the “10 Candid Career Questions” series, introducing you to the PPP professionals who do the deals, analyze the data, and strategize on the next big thing. Each of them followed a different path into PPP practice, and this series offers an inside look at their backgrounds, motivations, and choices. Each blogger receives the same 15 questions and answers 10 or more that tell their PPP career story candidly and without jargon. We believe you’ll be as surprised and inspired as we were.  

5 ways public-private partnerships can promote gender equality

Christine Shepherd's picture
Credit: Arne Hoel

From my corner of the World Bank, the development objective of promoting gender equality can seem vague or unrelated to what we do. We can give three cheers for our colleagues who focus on gender issues for successfully developing and releasing  the World Bank’s new Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth Strategy -- and then return to our work of closing the infrastructure financing gap and helping governments prioritize their infrastructure projects.

But are there areas in our own work on public-private partnerships (PPPs) where we can and should evaluate the role gender plays? Based on the quantity of literature my colleagues at the PPP Infrastructure Resource Center (PPIRC) have amassed in version 1.0 of their impact of PPPs on gender inclusion page of their website, the answer is yes.
 
During the last few months, I have brainstormed with my team at the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility to examine how gender considerations overlap with the technical assistance we facilitate. I have also recently joined the “gender leads” group of the World Bank on behalf of the PPP Group. As I have become more aware of the challenges women face around the world, I see these issues more and more through a PPP lens.  

So in honor of International Women’s Day, which pushes us to “step it up for gender equality,” I’ve identified five areas that point toward ways PPPs can be part of the solution:

Examining public-private partnership projects through a gender lens

Susanne Foerster's picture
©IFPRI/Milo Mitchell

Investment in infrastructure services in emerging economies is key to tackling extreme poverty and enhancing shared prosperity. Achieving gender equality is equally important if we want to reach these goals and maintain social and economic milestones, long-term, as outlined in the World Bank Group Gender Strategy (FY16 – 23): Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth.  
 
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are an important tool governments can use to improve access to basic infrastructure services. A new resource on the World Bank Group’s Public-Private Partnership in Infrastructure Resource Center (PPPIRC) website—a comprehensive section on gender and PPPs—compiles guidance on how PPPs and infrastructure projects can be structured to enhance gender inclusion and ensure equal benefits and economic opportunities for women and men.

Small public-private partnerships: inevitable and essential

Aijaz Ahmad's picture
Local governments are under pressure to provide more and better services. But in most cases, they cannot do this alone. An examination of the World Bank Group’s PPI database and the PPP databases of some key countries reveals that while there is a preponderance of larger public-private partnerships (PPPs), several small-scale PPPs with promising results have also been undertaken, especially at sub-national levels of government and by autonomous bodies affiliated with governments.

The PPI database suggests that approximately 40 percent of all projects are valued at less than $50 million, and approximately 25 percent of all projects are less than $25 million (Figure below). However, the database misses out on projects in several emerging sectors at the sub-national level. While non-traditional sectors are captured in country and sub-national databases, few of these databases are readily available in the public domain.
Source: Ahmad, A. and Shukla, S., A Preliminary Review of Trends in Small-Scale Public-Private Partnerships, World Bank Group 2014.

10 tips for implementing a public to public partnership (P2P)

Malcolm Morley's picture

In my last post, I proposed that economic and social value from Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) can be improved significantly if the public sector can identify and exploit the potential to create Public to Public Partnerships (P2Ps). I believe that P2Ps can use their combined scale and power to challenge the private sector to deliver additionality over and above what the public sector can achieve within the timeline and resources available.  They can create an imperative for the private sector to innovate and to use their competencies, capabilities, and capacity to contribute to a PPP and in transforming the Economic and Social Value Equation.  Additionality in PPPs needs to be more than what the public sector alone can achieve.
 
Because many public sector organizations are still at the early stages of looking at P2Ps, I’ve compiled a series of suggestions based upon experience that interested individuals can use to explore P2P development.  Public sector managers need to assess if it’s the right approach for their organizations within the context of the aspirations to deliver enhancements to the Economic and Social Value Equation.

Africa’s infrastructure: Five years on

Vivien Foster's picture

Africa’s Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation, the inaugural report in the Africa Development Forum series in 2010, was the fruit of an unusual confluence of circumstances. Seldom have donors put such a solid funding base behind primary data collection and analytical work on infrastructure, seldom has World Bank management been able to dedicate such significant human resources over a multiyear horizon to study these issues, and seldom has an infrastructure knowledge project brought together such a broad coalition of stakeholders including the key regional bodies in Africa. The catalyst was the high level of political commitment on African infrastructure made at the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005 based on the background work conducted for the Blair Commission Report on Africa.

Financial viability support: global efforts to create commercially viable PPPs

Kalpana Seethepalli's picture
Credit: Paul Carmona 

The story of infrastructure financing revolves around varying infrastructure needs—from basic to complex, interconnected infrastructure. And as this narrative develops, it’s becoming clear that by 2030, the additional infrastructure financing required to keep up with projected global GDP growth is an estimated $57 trillion.

Because public finances are overstretched, governments must consider alternative financing models to leverage private capital into infrastructure, along with strategic use of International Financial Institutions (IFI) financing to crowd in private investments. At the same time, developments in global financial markets are fundamentally reshaping how capital is transmitted and invested around the world, including in infrastructure. A key element of attracting private sector debt and equity into infrastructure is to make the underlying transactions commercially viable through clear, transparent Financial Viability Support (FVS) mechanisms.
 
During the past few years, our Singapore-based team has spent significant time exploring the way that FVS mechanisms can make a difference in PPPs around the world. In the new issue of Partnerships IQ, we discuss in great detail how FVS is being implemented across the globe, and its potential for even greater impact. Here, we’d like to discuss FVS a little more broadly, introducing our ideas for how and where it might operate most efficiently.


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