Acting it out first: Building capacity for PPPs in Kenya through role-playing and certification training

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Photo Credit: DEMOSH via Flickr Creative Commons

It turns out that airplane pilots and PPP practitioners now share a common training practice to sharpen their skills: simulation exercises.

Kenya is in the process of launching a number of PPPs, and conducting capacity building in the Ministry of Finance PPP unit and within the various implementing agencies is key to preparing professionals and designing and implementing successful PPP projects.

In September 2016, the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) conducted two innovative events in Kenya to build the capacity of PPP players at the national and sector levels. The first was the PPP simulation game funded through the PPIAF knowledge proposals in partnership with the Dutch Government. This was the second in a series of the PPIAF-funded activities, following a similar simulation training carried out in Astana, Kazakhstan. The training focused on post-contract monitoring and was offered to the Kenyan PPP unit as well as implementing agencies that are close to launching their PPP projects.

PPIAF anticipated a turnout of 16 participants but got an overwhelming response with 27 participants from the PPP unit, road agencies, the energy sector and public universities. Agency staff are working on pipeline PPP projects with the PPP unit, and the roads sector is working on more advanced projects.

Participants were fully engaged in the interactive simulation game, which is geared towards building the capacity of public-sector officials working on PPPs. The simulation requires participants to role-play and make decisions as either the public sector agency or a private firm. The game simulates different scenarios that could come up at PPP contract preparation and management phases and is designed to take participants through several complex situations and build understanding of how PPP preparation and implementation differs from traditional public procurement. The feedback from all participants was very positive. Director of Kenya’s PPP unit, Engineer Stanley Kamau, said one of the issues they face is capacity-building and the training came at the right time.

The second event held a week later was the PPP certification training. The PPP Certification Program is an innovation of the Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, Multilateral Investment Fund, Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank Group. The program marks an important milestone in the efforts of multilateral development banks to share knowledge, establish standards, enhance professionalism in the delivery of PPPs globally, and raise the quality of PPP projects around the world. At the core of the program is the PPP Guide, a comprehensive Body of Knowledge that prepares candidates for the Certified Public-Private Partnership Professional (CP³P) credential exam. Staff from the Kenyan PPP unit and from various implementing agencies underwent the foundation-level training. According to Elizabeth Njenga, the Capital Planning and Public Private Partnerships Manager at Kenya Electricity Generating Company, the training was an eye-opener to the various obstacles that lay in the path towards the implementation of successful PPPs and provided participants with applicable guidelines on effectively initiating and implementing PPP projects. 

In addition to establishing a favorable PPP environment and forming policies that promote PPPs, the overall success of PPP initiatives fundamentally depends on the ability of the key stakeholders to effectively play their respective roles. PPIAF is aware of this need and continues to provide support focusing on increasing knowledge and PPP technical skills by building clients’ institutional and organizational capacity.

Link to: Kenya’s 3 keys to success: How to create an effective public-private partnership unit

IMPORTANT NOTE TO PPP PRACTITIONERS: We would love to capture your PPP expertise in the latest draft Report on Recommended Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Contractual Provisions, which is open for public consultation to capture inputs and recommendations to feed into the next edition. The deadline for providing input is February 28, 2017. Detailed information is available here.



Samuel Baiya

Regional Portfolio Coordinator, Middle East

Serah Njoroge

Regional Portfolio Coordinator, East and Southern Africa

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