Fostering the Development of PPP Models in the COMESA Region

The project "Fostering the Development of PPP Models in the COMESA Region" helped COMESA Members improve infrastructure service provision though the increased and more systematic use of public private partnership (PPP) arrangements. The project’s four key objectives were to:

  • Capture and synthesize critical elements of an overarching policy and vision for effective PPPs in infrastructure sectors;
  • Analyse and lay out critical elements of an enabling legal framework for effective infrastructure PPPs;
  • Analyse critical elements of an effective, coordinating institutional framework for PPPs in infrastructure sectors; and
  • Analyse where a regional approach to PPPs can be helpful, and how COMESA members should pursue such a regional agenda.

PPPs have been undertaken in Africa, as they have worldwide, to bring both efficient management of infrastructure assets, and additional capital investment. In Africa, management / lease and concession type projects have been common in sectors with pre-existing assets. Additionally, there have been many Greenfield PPPs in power generation and mobile telecommunications. Mobile telephony has attracted by far the most PPP investments due to its ability to control connections and non-payment.

PPP investments in COMESA members have essentially been contractual rather than being based on a larger legislative framework. Thus, some ministries in some countries have developed expertise in structuring a very specific category of deal, but, for example, the procurement process, dispute resolution and regulation / tariff setting arrangements have generally been subject to a contractual arrangement rather than independent laws, regulations and regulators.

The report analyses experience in the regions and calls for a regional strategy and approach to PPPs in order to boost infrastructure service provision in many ways. It is therefore proposed that COMESA and its members pursue the following actions:

  1. Initiate a regional Community of Practice (CoP) to share knowledge and experience on PPPs in different infrastructure sectors; and initiate practical capacity building on a series of smaller-scale sub-sectors;
  2. Encourage phased, steady strengthening of national legal and institutional frameworks for PPP around a set of guiding principles (tailored to each country situation);
  3. Identify one regional "mega"-project, perhaps in the context of the North-South Corridor to use as a demonstration project, and "on-the-job" capacity building and alignment of national legal and institutional frameworks with accepted good practice; and
  4. Develop and pilot small and medium scale PPPs that can be replicated across the region, and where the regional knowledge sharing network can help build capacity and refine projects.

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