Harvard Kennedy School and IFC team up for senior training on PPPs and project finance


This page in:

I recently had the chance to get to know dozens of forward-thinking, dynamic individuals from the public and private sectors. Despite their varied backgrounds, resumes, and perspectives, they shared one thing in common: they have all been influential in shaping the Asia Pacific PPP landscape. Our gathering was part of the IFC PPP Transaction Advisory Services Unit’s four-day Senior Training Program on PPPs and Project Finance, in collaboration with the Harvard Kennedy School in Singapore.
All of the participants – government representatives, donors, private sector clients, World Bank and MIGA staff, as well as senior IFC staff -- offered a different view on how best to combat today’s global PPP challenges. We captured a few key insights from the training program to share with others:
  • Properly Planned Projects” is the acronym of the future. PPPs are extremely complex and multi-faceted, and thus require a renewed focus on appropriate and timely project planning. In the near future, there will possibly be a shift towards calling these deals “Properly Planned Projects” instead of public-private partnerships. 
  • PPPs are not the universal remedy to all infrastructure challenges. With the rising interest in PPPs, there is a growing perception that PPPs are the best solution to any infrastructure development problem. But PPPs are not a panacea to all infrastructure challenges that countries face today. It is more important than ever to first assess the problem, and then later decide if a PPP is the best or most effective tool for the job.
  • Choosing politically = choosing wisely.  In today’s ever-changing legal, regulatory, and political environment, the government should minimize political risks within its purview to draw more PPPs to its market. Countries tend to pay more attention to the financial and legal aspects when structuring a PPP project, but a poor understanding of the political landscape can create obstacles to a well-structured PPP.
  • Standardization can improve efficiency, but it has its risks as well. A key aspect to attracting private sector investment is ensuring that the entire bidding process is completely transparent, with well-defined criteria for selection. When markets employ consistent procurement processes and clear and comprehensive procurement documentation up front, they develop higher levels of private sector engagement, and price discovery takes place under competitive tension.  Developing standard processes and approaches towards structuring contracts, adoption of standard form contracts, risk allocation matrices, and supporting documentation can facilitate certainty in the market. However, over-standardization of PPP contracts, with a view to reducing mediations and negotiations (in the hope of lower bid costs) can backfire.  Some key contract clauses can certainly be standardized, along with guidance manuals for their interpretation; indeed, a few countries have done so.  But the use of template-type agreements for complex public-private partnership transactions is much less common and not recommended.  Other countries have incorporated some standardized elements in their legislation to govern all PPP contracts.
  • Monitor, monitor, monitor. In order to have successful PPPs in the future, the public sector should ensure that they engage with the market continuously, be willing to adapt to changes and at the same time, learn from the mistakes made throughout the PPP process.
Akash Deep, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and co-chair of the renowned Infrastructure in a Market Economy Executive Education program, and Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez, Derek C. Bok Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and guest faculty from the Singapore Management University, also discussed case studies that encouraged participants to ask some of the most pressing PPP questions and narrate their experiences in diverse leadership roles. For more information, watch our YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlEosHpRpjA.



Isabel Chatterton

Regional Industry Director for Global Infrastructure, Asia Pacific, IFC

Rabia Bukhari
July 28, 2016

This four days training on PPPs and Project financing looks great. I would love to participate in any such future sessions. If i can get included in the list so that i get timely information about training to register for it. I am working with USAID Pakistan in the Energy department and my new work assignment includes this area to work on.

Hossein Nourzad
July 28, 2016

Thanks for such a great event. Hope to have similar events in Middle East soon.

Emery Rubagenga
July 30, 2016

This PPP training specialized program in Projects financing is a fantastic initiative that would equip one in the learning of best practices & tools successfully used in differents part of the world. In the private sector, we sometime lack the detailed state-of-the-art methodology on how to successfully conduct PPP projects. I'd like to be added on the list for an upcoming session.
Thank you!

Eyo Ekpo
August 02, 2016

I attended the same course, but in Boston. Concentrated, focuses and highly illuminating. If only the WB and IFC would get more officials from developing countries to attend; plus find a way to put in an extra 2 or 3 working days for the course.

Maria Cristina M. F. Villanueva
June 11, 2018

Hello, if there is another PPP training such as this, kindly let me know. I am a lawyer from the Philippines (took my LLM in Cornell Law School) and my practice is mainly project finance and PPPs. I would like to update myself on the best practices in PPPs and project finance so I can more competently assist both public and private sector clients in launching and completing PPPs in the Philippines and abroad. Thank you very much!
- Kristy

Pattedy Nyagah
June 30, 2018

This is a great training program. Are you likely to have one in Africa soon? I am a social entrepreneur in Kenya, and recently joined the Lighting Africa/ Kenya solar off grid program Expo in Nairobi. This would help us as we provide off grid household solar energy to the most excluded counties in Kenya.