Photo: Scaling Solar project in Zambia
What is a common thread between Argentina, Maldives, and Zambia? In each of these countries, the World Bank provided guarantees to support transparent auctions for renewable energy. Through these, I have seen how the Bank’s involvement helped increase private investors’ confidence, attract world-class developers, and ultimately reduce tariffs.
Drawing on 10 years of diverse experience in the power sector in both public and private organizations, my role is to help bridge the divide between public and private parties and help each side better understand the other. The World Bank is ideally positioned for this. Both sides understand the World Bank carries out a detailed due diligence and ensures the auction meets international standards. Both sides appreciate the World Bank will be an honest broker if issues arise. Because of its long term and continuous involvement in our client countries, the World Bank can help identify and solve issues early on. As such, no World Bank project-based guarantee has ever been called.
Latin America & Caribbean
Photo: Dominic Chavez / International Finance Corporation
In the early 1990s, Colombia’s road infrastructure was a maze of poorly maintained roads and bad highways. Difficult geography—the Pacific coast jungle and the Andes branching out into three chains—made it harder to improve road conditions and connect isolated communities. Conflict, corruption, and short-term political priorities contributed to the problems plaguing Colombia’s road system. But just as influential were the problems with the nation’s existing concession contracts that had wrong incentives, created opportunities for renegotiating signed contracts, and assigned unproportioned demand risk to the Government of Colombia.
Photo: Diana Susselman | Flickr Creative Commons
I worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for exactly 20 years, all of which was in advisory work. I spent five years in Barbados, five in Washington, five in Zimbabwe and five in South Africa: perfect symmetry. On my 20th anniversary, I took a package and returned home, to the beautiful Caribbean. IFC was a great place to work, where we were challenged every day to come up with innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Some of our deals were truly groundbreaking and lived up to IFC’s motto to improve people’s lives. That’s the kind of job satisfaction that money can’t buy.
After 76 countries, millions of air miles, and some pretty forgettable airport hotels, sometimes I look back and think: what was it all about?
Photo: LWYang | Flickr Creative Commons
Since the 1980s, investment in Brazil’s infrastructure has declined from 5% to a little above 2% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), scarcely enough to cover depreciation and far below that of most middle-income countries (see figure below). The result is a substantial infrastructure gap. Over the same period, Brazil has struggled with stagnant productivity growth. The poor status of infrastructure is broadly believed to be a key reason for Brazil’s growth malaise.
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Photo (right): Mr. Amarin Jitnathum / Shutterstock
The Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC) has an infrastructure gap: the region needs to invest at least 5% of GDP to cover its infrastructure needs, but is currently investing only half that. To put it mildly, there is still a lot of room for improvement for both the public and private sectors, and also for multilaterals working in the region.
In a combined effort to reduce infrastructure gaps, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have become, again, a popular tool since 2005. LAC was the predominant region for PPPs until the late 1990s, when investments plummeted due in part to a backlash of poorly-implemented PPPs.
Triggered by low commodity prices and rising fiscal deficits, as well as by improvements in PPP readiness, many countries established dedicated agencies and strengthened regulations leading to increases in PPP investments from $8 billion in 2005 to $39 billion in 2015. In total, LAC has seen investments of $361.3 billion in around 1,000 PPP infrastructure projects in just one decade, mostly in energy and transport.
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Foto (derecha): Amarin Jitnathum / Shutterstock
La región de América Latina y el Caribe registra una brecha de infraestructura: necesita invertir al menos el 5 % del producto interno bruto (PIB) para atender sus necesidades en ese sector, pero actualmente invierte solo la mitad de ese porcentaje. Por decirlo de manera suave, los sectores público y privado y las entidades multilaterales que operan en la región aún tienen mucho que mejorar.
A partir de 2005, y gracias al esfuerzo conjunto de estos actores, las alianzas público-privadas (APP) volvieron a ser una herramienta ampliamente utilizada. Hasta fines de la década de 1990, América Latina y el Caribe era la región en la que más proliferaban estos mecanismos. En ese momento, las inversiones se desplomaron debido en parte a las reacciones adversas provocadas por la implementación deficiente de las APP.
Impulsados por la disminución del precio de los productos básicos y el aumento del déficit fiscal, así como por la mejora de las condiciones para implementar APP, muchos países establecieron organismos específicos y fortalecieron las regulaciones, con lo que las inversiones mediante APP crecieron de USD 8000 millones en 2005 a USD 39 000 en 2015. En total, en apenas una década, la región de América Latina y el Caribe ha registrado inversiones de USD 361 300 millones en alrededor de 1000 proyectos de infraestructura enmarcados en APP, mayormente en los sectores de energía y transporte.
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Foto (direita): Amarin Jitnathum / Shutterstock
A região da América Latina e Caribe (ALC) apresenta uma lacuna em termos de infraestrutura: a região precisa investir no mínimo 5% do PIB para atender suas necessidades neste setor, mas atualmente investe apenas metade desse percentual. Explicando de uma forma suave, há ainda muito espaço para melhorias por parte do setor público, do setor privado, bem como das organizações multilaterais que trabalham na região.
Em um esforço combinado de reduzir as lacunas de infraestrutura, as Parcerias Público-Privadas voltaram a ser uma ferramenta popular a partir de 2005. A ALC era a região com maior predominância de PPPs até o fim dos 1990s, quando os investimentos despencaram em parte como reação adversas provocadas por PPPs mal implementadas.
Incentivados pelos preços baixos dos produtos primários e déficits fiscais crescentes, assim como pelo aprimoramento da capacidade de preparação de PPPs, muitos países criaram agências específicas e fortaleceram regulamentações que levaram ao aumento de investimentos em PPPs de US$ 8 bilhões em 2005 para US$ 39 bilhões em 2015. No total, em apenas uma década, a ALC teve investimentos de US$ 361,3 bilhões referentes a aproximadamente 1000 PPPs de projetos de infraestrutura, principalmente nos setores de energia e transportes.
Many countries are experiencing urbanization within the context of increased decentralization and fiscal adjustment. This puts sub-national entities (local governments, utilities and state-owned enterprises) in the position of being increasingly responsible for developing and financing infrastructure and providing services to meet the needs of growing populations.
However, decentralization in many situations is still a work in progress. And often there is a mismatch between the ability of sub-nationals to provide services, and the autonomy or authority necessary to make decisions and access financing—often leaving them dependent on national governments. Additionally, they may also contend with inadequate regulatory and policy frameworks and weak domestic financial and capital markets.
- sustainable cities
- municipal governance
- infrastructure financing
- Public private partnership
- Public Private Partnerships
- Urban Development
- Public Sector and Governance
- Private Sector Development
- Europe and Central Asia
- Latin America & Caribbean
Photo: Passarinho/Pref.Olinda | Flickr Creative Commons
A few weeks ago, I delivered the training for the Certified Public-Private Partnership Professional (CP3P) Preparation exam to a group in São Paulo. I was about to commence my closing remarks at the end of the three-day very intensive journey, when a particularly dedicated participant asked: “Why is it that we have never heard of so many of these concepts before?”
It was indeed a very good question.
Photo: Deutsche Welle | Flickr Creative Commons
As in many regions, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are underinvesting in infrastructure—spending in the sector is only about half of the $300 billion needed annually to encourage growth and reduce poverty. Addressing this issue involves the successful interaction between public officials and leading infrastructure actors, particularly in the private sector. Stimulating such public-private dialogue is a priority for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, a technical partner of the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF). Along with other partners, our recently established PPP unit supports governments, international financial institutions, and the private sector to develop infrastructure projects.
It was therefore a privilege for me to moderate a panel on country infrastructure programs in Latin America at the GIF’s annual Advisory Council meeting in April 2017. We covered three countries—Colombia, Argentina and Peru—at different stages of PPP market development. The findings were encouraging and illustrate a path forward for other countries in the region: