As a former country manager in Benin, my team and I advised the national administration on the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Project Law then under consideration and engaged in PPPs. This effort took place after the private sector, both domestic and international, made a strong commitment to finance large infrastructure programs. Timing is everything, of course, and the window for passing the legislation through parliament before legislative elections was tight – ultimately, too tight. A better understanding of PPPs and the options these partnerships can offer to a country like Benin, which needs substantial infrastructure investments, would have helped the process tremendously.
At the time, however, PPP educational options for French speakers were scarce. Although plenty of PPP resources exist in English, many fewer tools are available for Francophone African countries. These tools are critical to understanding PPPs, creating and adopting legislation, applying PPPs when they may serve a need, and knowing when not to use them to secure infrastructure services.
The new French-language MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on PPPs fills this need. Modeled on the successful English-language MOOC on PPPs rolled out last year, this free, first-of-its-kind course in French outlines the role of PPPs in the delivery of infrastructure services. Unlike the last course, this MOOC is tailored specifically to Francophone countries, to meet the unique circumstances and demands of that region. To suit students’ needs, for example, the MOOC provides case studies from the African, North African, and Middle East regions.
As many of us know from our own work in the field, there’s no substitute for experience on the ground. This understanding is central to the new MOOC. Francophone PPP practitioners, government officials, and academics with field experience relate the opportunities and challenges of procuring and maintaining infrastructure through effective PPPs. Their perspectives, which have evolved as the regional economies have matured, are relevant and useful for those making critical decisions on PPPs. This MOOC would be appropriate for government officials as well as those in academia and those active in civil society. The goal of the course is to dispel biases and misunderstanding around PPPs to empower all the stakeholders to participate and provide feedback on such projects.
Registration is currently open for this course, which starts on June 13 and spans four weeks. It will cover these topics:
- Reducing the Infrastructure Gap: The Role of PPPs;
- Getting Decision-Making Right: PPP Frameworks and Institutions;
- Attracting the Right Partner: Procuring PPPs; and
- Making the Partnership Work: Implementing PPPs.
With a deeper understanding of each of these issues, French-speakers seeking a greater understanding of PPPs – especially how and when to implement them -- can consider the full range of options available. The timing is right, and with the new French-language MOOC, the tools are ready, too. To sign up for the course, go to: https://fr.coursera.org/learn/pppefficace/.