The 9th Africa Public Private Partnership Showcase took place in Cape Town last week with no available seats left during the opening of the conference. Delegates were welcomed by the events gold sponsor, Development Bank of Southern Africa’s (DBSA) representative, Bothwell Manikai, who expressed their intent to deliver infrastructure and take on more partnerships to unlock at least R100 billion worth of infrastructure development per year. “PPP’s will be vital in the delivery of infrastructure in the continent to stimulation growth and assist regional integration,” he said.
One of the keynote speakers, Debashish Mallick from Exim Bank of India shared insights in the implementation of PPP’s, where it has been used in India to promote industrialisation efforts and to improve exports and trade, mentioning projects across Africa including in Burkina Faso, Mali, Marlowe and Ghana.
Sessions varied from panel discussions and project showcases to round robin meetings with key industry players, all well attended with high interest from the delegates with discussion and debate resulting from each topic. The PPP Framework session highlighted important characteristics such as:
- Consensus is key in the process of framework customisation
- Frameworks should be technically simplified, not theoretical
- PPP tools should be used to monitor performance
- Government must build a legal and regulatory framework to guide PPP projects
Transparency was one of the keywords of the conference with it being one of the key aspects of a public private partnership. Many speakers described the partnership as a “marriage”, highlighting the importance of its time span and commitment by all parties involved. Other successful PPP elements included a funding model which needs to be equitable and clear with the expectation of capital expenditure and viability of funding being done by the government.
The specialised office accommodation session, joined by the Kwazulu Natal provincial treasury, showed more about the option of leasing or purchasing buildings for government and highlighted that it provides opportunity for consolidation and bringing different government departments closer together, reducing travel time as well as saving money for government, with the KZN Treasury saving approximately R50 million due to these kind of PPP’s.
Water Services PPP’s was another hot topic, as delegates saw first-hand the direness of the coastal drought taking place in Cape Town using the term “black-gold” to describe the valuable resource. As the African populations significantly increase, further strain is put on the systems and acceleration could not take place without embracing the private sector and full political support.
With delegates from more than 31 countries around the world in attendance, many countries, such as Mauritius, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe showcased their projects. “Nigeria has committed billions to infrastructure projects in various sectors and invites private sector partners to come onboard.” said Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, H.E Honourable Senator Hadi Sirika.
“We still have a long way to go if we want to address our ultimate goal of alleviating poverty and improving the lives of our people. To achieve this we need to invest in infrastructure, our people and continue to reform policy in order to strengthen Africa’s ability to mobilize private sector resources for infrastructure development,” said the Honourable Mrs Manthabiseng Phohleli, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Health of Lesotho who spoke about the path of PPP’s in Africa.
Many challenges lie ahead including the training of people to better understand PPP’s, establishing funding models, utilising the resources correctly and the adequate conceptualisation and implementation, from pre-feasibility to project closing. However, PPP’s have also come a long way and the successful projects, especially in Nigeria and South Africa, are laying major groundwork as a roadmap for the future.
Next year’s 10th Africa Private Public Partnership Conference and Showcase will be taking place from 24 – 25 October 2018 at the Cape Sun Hotel in Cape Town. Make sure you don’t miss the chance. Visit www.ametrade.org/africappp for more information.