Public-private partnerships: Key to Caribbean recovery

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Public-private partnerships: The key to Caribbean recovery E-Power in Port-au-Prince | Image: World Bank

Many Caribbean countries are facing significant fiscal constraints to improving, or even maintaining, vital public projects in transportation, health, energy, and other sectors because the pandemic has led to a sharp decline in tourism revenue—a mainstay of the region’s economies. The fiscal downturn is exacerbated by complex issues such as the region's vulnerability to natural hazards and the effects of climate change.

With the pandemic bringing new challenges and straining already scarce resources, the collaboration between public and private sectors has never been more important. When structured well, PPPs can help channel financial resources and leverage private sector expertise and innovation to provide improved infrastructure and services, which are key to a sustainable and resilient recovery.

Across the Caribbean, however, PPP projects have often faced challenges in getting to the finish line. This is primarily because tenders were not properly structured, or the size of the project was too small to attract major international players.

Yet these obstacles are not insurmountable. While PPPs can be complex agreements, we have seen that following a few key strategies can enable governments to design successful tenders and deliver much needed social and economic infrastructure. These strategies include:

There has already been progress. In 2018, Jamaica signed a 25-year concession agreement with an experienced Mexican airport operator to manage the Norman Manley International Airport, with operations officially transferred to the company the following year. This partnership will create revenue for the government, while improving services and helping to drive growth in passenger traffic as tourism resumes. Meanwhile, the Government of Barbados launched a prequalification process to identify an operator for its airport, attracting 13 experienced companies interested in the project. While the tender has been delayed due to the pandemic, the transaction is expected to be launched in early 2022. Across the region, there are potential PPP projects in other sectors such as roads, power, and broadband provision that are in the early stages of development

Although the pandemic hit Caribbean economies particularly hard, PPPs represent a powerful tool to innovate and foster a resilient recovery.  When structured and managed well, PPPs can play a key role in improving critical infrastructure, helping countries across the region accelerate their post-pandemic social and economic recovery, create jobs, and improve services for citizens in the years to come.


Related Posts

Delivering climate resilient infrastructure through the private sector

Rightly done PPPs can be the right tool for green and resilient infrastructure

Incautious Optimism: Things are looking great for PPPs in the Caribbean

A decade of PPPs in Latin America and the Caribbean: What have we learned?

PPPs in the Caribbean: Filling the gap




This blog is managed by the Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees Group of the World Bank. Learn more about our work here.


Judith Green

Country Manager for the Caribbean, IFC

Michelle Ottey

Senior Investment Officer and Head of IFC Transaction Advisory Services in PPPs for the Caribbean, IFC

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