More than just cherry blossoms: PPPs & infrastructure bloom at World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings

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Spring in Washington, D.C. means cherry blossoms, warmer weather, and of course the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund. And with them, the buzz and crowds nearly rival those at ground zero for spring in D.C. at the National Mall’s reflecting pools.

The meetings and related events, held April 9–14, are attended by about 2,800 delegates from member countries, 350 observer organization representatives, 800 members of the press, and 550 representatives from civil society organizations. 

On the menu this year for those of us in the PPP, infrastructure, and private-sector finance arena are a number of events highlighting the management of PPPs and fiscal risk, how to drive investment to fragile settings, and the power of partnerships. All the below events (except the first) have been or will be live-streamed and can be replayed, so wherever you are in the world you can tune in to learn more. 

PPPs: Managing Fiscal Impact in Limited Capacity Countries 


Jamaica lacked the means to develop a modern highway, so they turned to a PPP. Transportation is now quick and safe, but it did not come without fiscal risk for the island nation. “PPPs create fiscal risks; there is no free lunch,” said Brian Samuel, PPP coordinator for the Caribbean Development Bank. More important is how these risks are managed. In Jamaica officials were trained and effective partnerships in the region also helped. 

Samuel and Maximilien Queyranne, an economist in IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, outlined five key elements for countries with limited capacity: 

  1. Public investment management—don’t separate PPPs from public investments, pick priority projects. 
  2. Realistic budgeting: hope for the best, budget for the worst. 
  3. Gateway process—give the minister of finance a say in selecting projects and a veto if they’re not affordable. 
  4. Capacity—it is especially important for small governments to count on consultants and specialists to help. This carries a cost, but it is important for the investment. Strong legal, regulatory, and policy frameworks—as well as solid PPP design—are critical. 
  5. Transparency—fully disclose all commitments.

Driving Private Investment to Fragile Settings 

Private investors have the potential to facilitate a strong recovery among economies that experience fragility, conflict, and violence. Incoming World Bank President, David R. Malpass, provided opening remarks at this session, which discussed the opportunities and challenges for cross-border investors in fragile settings and how MIGA can help mitigate political risk. 

The session showcased the MIGA Rikweda raisins processing project in Afghanistan

Watch a replay of the event here.

All Africa Digital Economy Moonshot, April 12

Digital innovation is creating unprecedented opportunities for Africa to grow its economy, create jobs, and transform people’s lives. With the aim to digitally connect every individual, business and government in Africa by 2030, the African Union, with the support of the World Bank Group, has embarked on an ambitious journey—a “moonshot” that will help countries accelerate progress, bring high-speed connectivity to all, and lay the foundations for a vibrant digital economy. Panelists were full of energy and motivation at this the-stars-are-aligned moment to boost Africa into the digital age. Worth a watch!

The Power Of Partnerships: Mobilizing Finance And Unlocking Private Sector Solutions

April 12, 2019 | 14:30 to 15:30 ET, 18:30 to 19:30 GMT

Hear global leaders discuss how the power of partnerships can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the crucial role the private sector plays in the development equation. 

Watch the event here.

Boosting Investment in People and Infrastructure


April 14, 2019 | 10:00 AM-11:15 AM ET, 2:00 to 3:15 GMT

Investing in people helps them share in the benefits of economic growth and technological progress. Investing in infrastructure grows the pie that can be distributed to all. While public investment levels need to be raised in countries at all levels of development, fiscal sustainability is a real challenge. Improving the governance of infrastructure investment is key to increasing its value for money. 

Watch the event here.

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Authors

Sunny Kaplan

Communications Specialist, The World Bank

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