Helping communicate the potential of PPPs through a new, free online course

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The World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity can’t be achieved unless we see a huge boost in the quality and quantity of infrastructure services. Boost infrastructure and do it right and you can generate jobs and boost economic growth. Improving sanitation and access to clean water is essential to improve health outcomes. 
According to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, “Today, the developing world spends about $1 trillion on infrastructure, and only a small share of those projects involves private actors. Overall, private investments and public-private partnerships in developing countries totaled $150 billion in 2013, down from $186 billion in 2012. So it will take the commitment of all of us to help low- and middle-income countries bridge the massive infrastructure divide.”
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) can be an important way for governments to help supplement the role of the public sector in meeting the infrastructure deficit.  But PPPs are controversial – there have been some high profile, expensive failures, and some stakeholders feel the private sector should not be involved in providing basic infrastructure services like water. 
On the flip side, many have over optimistic expectations for PPPs. PPPs are often not easy to do or to get right and governments need to make sure they are choosing projects suitable for the PPP approach. Through a variety of initiatives and collaboration with partners – including the world’s main multilateral lending institutions – we are helping clients better understand both the potential and limitations of PPPs, including helping them assess when a PPP is the right option and when it is not, and how to procure and manage these projects effectively.

Our free massive open online course (MOOC) – “How can PPPs help deliver better services?” – will help participants gain an understanding of when, how and why to implement PPPs, based on real examples of what has made for successful PPPs and what has led to failures. Students will gain insights into the PPP life cycle and its challenges, from project selection to implementation. Whether you are a PPP practitioner, policy maker or completely new to the subject of PPPs there is something here for you.

Public-Private Partnerships MOOC on Coursera
This four-week course, which launches on June 1 and requires between two and four hours per week, is presented in partnership with Coursera. The goal of the course is to enable a solid understanding of PPPs and learn lessons from practitioners and academics in the field. Participants will hear from practitioners who have first-hand experience of implementing PPPs in countries such as India, Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom, as well as academics from Harvard University, the Indian School of Business and Johns Hopkins University.
The World Bank Group sees PPPs as a tool available for governments to help address critical infrastructure and service needs. We hope our MOOC can help provide everyone with a better understanding of what PPPs can contribute, when they can be used or when they should not, and how to administer them properly.  
We look forward to your participation. For more on the course, please follow the discussion on @WBG_PPP, #PPPMOOC.

Technical note: If you experience difficulty with the link, please try using Google Chrome or Firefox to access Coursera thank you.


Clive Harris

Lead Infrastructure Specialist, Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees Global Practice, World Bank

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