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I survived boot camp / strengthened the PPP muscle

I just wrapped up my third and last boot camp on PPPs (Public-Private Partnership) in Kingston, Jamaica last week.  I was not alone; we did it together with more than 45 Caribbean public officials. The first was held in Barbados last September and the second was in Trinidad and Tobago last November.

The boot camps resulted from the joint efforts of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)/Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the World Bank (WB)/Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) and were designed to provide relevant staff and key PPP institutions in the Region a comprehensive and structured platform for delivering capacity building and familiarity to the complexities of PPP delivery.  We discussed that not all infrastructure needs to be developed as a PPP, only when it makes sense.  We discussed at length methodologies to flag and avoid costly mistakes.

It was an intense training as we covered in a very short span the complete PPP cycle.  Covered were 1) understanding the key elements of an enabling environment and institutional and regulatory framework that facilitates PPPs,  2) a step by step discussion of business plan preparation, 3) best practices in procurement process to ensure Value for Money, and 4) key considerations for long term contract implementation.

Infrastructure is a key facilitator that drives productivity gains, integration and reduces inequality. With better infrastructure, people get access to a wider range of work opportunities, which can raise wages and increase social mobility. Carefully planned infrastructure investments can reduce the costs of transportation and energy, thereby promoting economic activity and exports. Poor infrastructure constrains development, as it limits growth, limits productivity and heightens inequality.

The Caribbean needs to invest more than US$21 billion in infrastructure by 2025 to meet its core infrastructure demands.  As you know, public investment alone cannot close this gap.  PPPs can play a crucial role if appropriately planned, structured, procured, and managed.

As Caribbean countries identify how best to move forward with the implementation of PPP programs, we found very useful to benchmark their programs versus a best practice framework.  During the boot camps, discussion of best practices, helped identify shortcomings, as well as suggest possible options on how best to address them.  There is sufficient experience in the Region to learn from each other. There are examples that need to be replicated and lessons learned to be avoided.

In the case of PPPs implementation, learning by doing could prove costly!

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    Bruce Potter
    February 19, 2016 Reply

    Didn't see any mention of trust, equity, enforceability of agreements, transnational complexity, third-party roles, and the question of whether the multinational organizations who sponsored the training are honest and reliable brokers able to protect the interests of small island governments and organizations. Or the role of non-governmental and community-based organizations.

  • avatar image
    Adriana La Valley
    February 24, 2016 Reply

    Good points! While not specifically mentioned in the blog, they were intrinsically part of the program and subject of avid discussion amongst participants. There is growing consensus in international forums that the private sector must play a leadership role if development problems are to be solved. This idea has been evolving and was present at the financing-for-development conference that spoke about moving from billions to trillions of dollars by crowding in private-sector financial resources, to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to the United Nations-led climate change negotiations (COP21), and finally to conversations about the technology-driven 4th Industrial Revolution ‎at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January this year. Governments however, remain accountable to their citizens for the projects selected. PPPs go at the core of this shared vision, that while complex, they provide an alternative to government delivery.

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