​Caribbean PPPs come of age: Boot camp-style workshops kick off new approach to partnerships

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Street scene in Delmas, Haiti
“Plantain nu eat like rice” — a Caribbean saying roughly translated as “Make do with what is available to you” — applies to the region’s experience with public-private partnerships (PPPs) as well as to life on the islands. For many decades, implementation of PPPs in the Caribbean has been mixed; government officials and citizens alike have had to “make do” with these results.  

Some partnerships have successfully delivered new or improved roads, ports, airports, bulk water treatment facilities, and electricity generation plants, along with other high-quality infrastructure facilities. However, other promising PPPs faced challenges that were never overcome. ​In many cases, the complexity of the PPP development and implementation process meant long delays in delivering projects; others resulted in questionable value or unexpected costs to governments or consumers. 

To help Caribbean governments fulfill the promise of PPPs to deliver improved infrastructure assets and services, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), the World Bank Group (WBG), and the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) have created the Caribbean Regional Support Facility. This US$1.2 million program was launched at the High-Level Workshop on Practical Implementation on PPPs in Saint Lucia on June 15.  An important component of its near-term activities, an upcoming series of boot camp-style workshops, will increase technical capacity among Caribbean government officials, offering the depth and breadth that’s been missing from the PPP market.

Push-ups for the brain
Upcoming boot camps offered by the Caribbean Regional Support Facility focus on brains rather than brawn, and input will ultimately result in a region-specific, web-based PPP toolkit available to all participants. The boot camps’ intense practical and educational sessions aim specifically to increase officials’ technical capacity in selecting PPP projects; preparing PPPs and improving decision-making; and structuring and managing PPP transactions. The three boot camps will take place in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica.

Other critical components of the Caribbean Regional Support Facility include hands-on support via a helpdesk, which will offer quick response to technical requests from member governments. The helpdesk will also provide in-country support to introduce PPP policies, and screening and developing of potential projects. Cultivating business plans for PPP facilities fills another important gap; to do this, the project will support Caribbean PPPs by estimating demand for advisory assistance and investment needs, scope of services, funding mechanisms, and financial projections.
 
Launched amid growth
The Caribbean Regional Support Facility was launched on May 20 at the CDB’s Annual Board of Governors Meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis. The Facility’s first deliverable was the recent “High-Level Workshop on Practical Implementation of PPPs” in St. Lucia, which was attended by 29 high-level government officials from 12 different Caribbean nations. It provided an introduction to PPPs with a specific focus on the role of key decision-makers along the project cycle, and led immediately in to the 3rd Caribbean Growth Forum.

The workshop included sessions such as “Risks and Rewards of PPPs,” “Unsolicited proposals (USP),” “PPPs and Fiscal Management,” and “Preparing bankable transactions.” In addition to those lectures, the participants shared experiences related to PPPs, particularly through a panel discussion led by officials from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada.

This is the first in a series of posts about PPPs in the Caribbean, and the activities launched by the Caribbean Regional Support Facility. We welcome input and encourage participation. For more information, please contact Luciana Guimaraes Drummond e Silva at [email protected]

Authors

Luciana Guimaraes Drummond E Silva

Portfolio Coordinator, Latin America and the Caribbean, PPIAF

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