Nigeria: Taking the lead on PPPs in Africa?

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For quite some time, I’ve suspected that Nigeria would become the leader in Africa for PPPs. Several projects have been announced, and serious government interest has been demonstrated by discussion on policy, legislation and deal flow. The Global Legal Group has provided excellent insight into this in their 2007 Guide to PPP/PFI Projects. In a surprisingly short amount of time, Nigeria has been able to sign a 25-year concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Consortium, concessionaires of the Lagos-Ibadan Motorway (reportedly 27 months). Nigeria has also utilized a PPP-approach to areas such as ports, tourism, healthcare and housing.

With all this in mind, I was very happy to hear earlier this year from Saidu Njidda, who has succeeded in forming the Foundation for Public Private Partnerships of Nigeria (FPPPN) to support and advocate the development of PPPs in Nigeria. Personally, I see PPP associations as an important and integral part of any PPP market. The public sector should be able to consult the private sector prior to approval of a policy or legislation and also to hear the consensus view of the private sector in the country. As proponents of the concept of PPPs in Nigeria, the FPPPN conducts research, publishes findings, facilitates forums for discussion and sponsors seminars on topics related to PPPs in Nigeria.

This practice of the private sector organizing a platform for private and often public entities as well to promote, discuss and work together is quite well recognized in a number of well developed PPP markets:

  • One of the oldest examples is certainly the NCPPP of the US (National PPP Council), whose mission is to advocate and facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships at the federal, state and local levels.
  • Canada has developed a large and well functioning Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP): The objective of the CCPPP is to foster innovative forms of cooperation between the public and private sectors and the private sector for the benefit of all Canadians.
  • The UK, the leader in PPPs, has the International Financial Services of London (IFSL), established to promote the UK-based financial services industry throughout the world.
  • In the Czech Republic, the private sector has set up the Asociace PPP (APPP) for the support and development of public investment and services using the PPP form in the Czech Republic.
  • Australia has the Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA), established to bring together the public and private sectors to promote partnerships in infrastructure and provide cross-industry leadership in Australia.

And these are only a few examples of the world of PPP Associations. The PPP market has indeed grown quickly in the last few years and is still growing; let’s hope that good practice in PPPs will also take deep roots in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

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