Photo: Misako Kuniya | Flickr Creative Commons
The time is ripe to explore innovative ways to implement PPPs through a synthesis of sustainable and resilient best practices that progressively improve delivery and outperform original expectations.
During my recent travels as a PPP advisor to Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, I worked closely with public sector leaders who are increasingly focused on procuring a new generation of PPPs that are meaningful, sustainable, resilient, people-focused, and will support their governments’ goals of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A government official from the Balkans had a concern about maturing PPPs in his country. Projects that had been launched at the end of communism were reaching the end of their lifetime and would be in a poor state when returned to the government by under-performing private sector partners who had not met their obligations to ensure the operations and maintenance would guarantee the government received back projects in good working order. Additionally, there was concern that if the perception arose that PPPs had resulted in “privatization of profits and nationalization of debts” that the potential for future PPP projects would be jeopardized.
These projects that could stop delivering once handed back to the public sector because of a lack of financial and human capital resources would set the country’s development agenda back—as it could not afford to build new projects and refurbish old ones at the same time.
What was needed were projects that continued delivering.
Public Sector and Governance
Photo: AhmadArdity | Pixabay
There are many reasons why infrastructure projects often fail to materialize, meet their timeframe, budget, or service delivery objectives. Important examples include weak and insufficient planning and assessment of affordability as well as uncertainty over the rules of the game.
These issues severely constrain the ability of governments to mobilize finance to deliver key services that help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The World Bank estimates that achieving the SDGs would require some $4.5 trillion in public and private investment by 2030.
In light of the financing requirements for the SDGs, the World Bank has developed the Maximizing Finance for Development (MFD) approach to help governments and other stakeholders crowd in private sector solutions while optimizing the use of scarce public resources.
The World Bank Group and the African Development Bank, with support from key development partners, have organized the second Infrastructure Governance Roundtable, to be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, June 21-22, to foster a robust dialogue on how best to improve infrastructure governance practices to create sustainable infrastructure, and to assist with building capacity in this area.
The simple answer is yes—with a little help from the Infrastructure Prioritization Framework developed by the World Bank.
Experts can make decisions based on remarkably few pieces of information. Research by James Shanteau at Kansas State University has shown that expertise is reflected in the type of information used, not the amount of it. The Infrastructure Prioritization Framework, or IPF, attempts to capitalize on precisely these aspects of expertise and decision-making. This enables objective evaluations of infrastructure projects using minimal but relevant data in information-constrained environments.
Why is this important? But this does not mean the resulting decisions have to be poor. Critical to such situations is the ability to identify and select accurate and relevant information to achieve the desired objectives, something that requires experience, expertise, and judgment.
Photo: Trocaire | Flickr Creative Commons
In war-torn post-1991 Somalia, running water was a scarce commodity, to the misfortune of millions of people. Members of local communities rose to the occasion, “pooling” consortia of companies to fill the gap in water provisions. Eight public-private partnerships (PPPs) were formed through these consortia, benefiting 70,000 people in the Puntland and Somaliland regions of the country.
As demonstrated in the Somalia case, infrastructure needs are substantial in fragility, conflict and violence-affected (FCV) contexts—especially for recovery and reconstruction in war-torn areas. Yet often there is insufficient public sector funding to address such needs, compounded by lack of interest on the part of large private sector firms, who may not even be on the scene.
- maximizing finance for development
- Conflict and Fragility; fragile and conflict affected states; fragile states; fragility; FCV
- public-private partnerships
- Public Sector and Governance
- Private Sector Development
- Middle East and North Africa
- East Asia and Pacific
- Sustainable Communities
Photo: torstensimon | Pixabay
In the context of strained public finances and limited borrowing capacity for developing countries, there is growing debate on the roles of public and private actors to deliver the trillions of dollars of infrastructure necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On one hand, high-profile public-private partnership (PPP) project failures have cast doubt about the viability of the model. On the other hand, while public authorities are ultimately responsible for the delivery of public services, deficient infrastructure services in some countries have raised concerns about the ability of the public sector to deliver on its own.
This is not a black-and-white issue. Public and private finance are complementary, with different objectives and characteristics suitable in different contexts and sectors. The recently published 2018 report of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development, to which almost 60 agencies and international institutions have contributed, explores this debate while analyzing financing challenges of SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and 15 (life on land/ecosystems).
It is broadly understood that public-private partnerships (PPP) are a procurement tool that encompass design, financing, construction and long-term operation of a public infrastructure by the private sector. They can be cost-effective thanks to adequate risk transfer and performance criteria, and help bridge Africa’s large infrastructure gap in many sectors.
Photo: ispyfriend / iStock
It seems like every week there are new reports being published about public-private partnerships (PPPs) by different organizations around the world. How can you keep track of what’s new and what’s relevant for your work?
With over 4,000 documents on PPPs in seven different languages (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese) in its searchable document library,
What’s been trending over the last quarter on the PPP Knowledge Lab?
Between 2004 and 2017, some 30 African countries have adopted laws regarding Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). If we were to add to this list the countries that have implemented PPP policies, and those who are in the midst of drafting PPP laws, the tally would rise, leaving us with less than just 10 African countries that are entirely without a PPP framework.
What this tells us is that the calls by international financial institutions have been heard by decision-makers in Africa:
But how does reality measure up to the theory? How many projects, based on PPP law, have actually reached financial close? Given the time required to prepare a PPP, it is maybe too early to see PPP laws translated into concrete PPP projects, especially as more than 20 countries have in fact adopted their laws only in the last five years.
Promouvoir l’initiative et l’innovation du secteur privé tout en assurant une mise en concurrence : c’est le dilemme que doivent résoudre les pouvoirs publics qui souhaitent encadrer les offres spontanées dans l’infrastructure. Dans un précédent billet, nous avons souligné qu’il fallait considérer avec prudence les offres non sollicitées, à savoir comme une procédure exceptionnelle pour la passation des marchés publics.
Un pays qui accepte la possibilité d’offres non sollicitées et qui adopte des mesures pour les traiter s’attend à être saisi de ce type de projet par les entreprises. En même temps, il doit s’assurer du juste prix et de la rentabilité du projet proposé. Mais Comment une administration publique peut-elle encourager les offres spontanées, tout en attirant suffisamment de candidatures concurrentes?
Photo: kupicoo/ iStock
Un desafío clave a la hora de elaborar una política sobre gestión de “IPs” – iniciativas privadas (también llamadas propuestas no solicitadas o “unsolicited proposals” en inglés) en proyectos de infraestructura es lograr un equilibrio entre el hecho de generar interés de empresas privadas para someter IPs y el de crear un entorno que permita generar una tensión competitiva atrayendo a más postores. En un blog anterior, advertimos que las IPs deben utilizarse con cautela como una excepción a la regla general según la cual los proyectos de infraestructura deberían ser iniciativas del sector público, y sostuvimos que contar con una política adecuada para la gestión de las IPs puede ayudar a garantizar la transparencia y la previsibilidad, y a proteger el interés público.
Ciertamente, un Gobierno que decida considerar IPs y elabore una política para su gestión esperará recibir propuestas que cumplan los requisitos establecidos. Al mismo tiempo, el Gobierno debe asegurarse de que el proyecto represente un precio justo de mercado y optimice los recursos públicos. Pero, ¿qué incentivo tiene el sector privado para presentar una iniciativa privada si el Gobierno la toma y somete a un proceso de adquisición competitiva? ¿Qué puede hacer un Gobierno para que las IPs despierten el interés del sector privado y, al mismo tiempo, atraigan suficientes oferentes?