Interest in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) is gaining momentum in Asia. Strong economic development and increasing urbanization have sharply increased demand for roads, bridges, and airports, as well as energy, water, and sanitation. As governments realize they do not have the financial resources necessary to meet these infrastructure needs, many have sought partnerships with the private sector for investment, technical expertise, and management skills. This, in turn, has made the Asia PPP Practitioners Network (APN) – a regional Asian forum for PPP practitioners – an important and relevant event for governments, corporations, and PPP experts. The most recent gathering took place in Seoul from November 30 to December 2, 2016.
The 2016 APN Conference brought together PPP practitioners from more than 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including both jurisdictions with extensive PPP experience – such as the Philippines – and states that have only recently embarked on their PPP programs – such as Myanmar. The discussions were detailed and enriching, with participants actively sharing a wide variety of viewpoints and lessons learned.
Sharing the latest PPP knowledge
Amr Quari, who represented the Asian Development Bank (ADB), provided an overview of the results of ADB’s recent survey of PPP investors. Representing the World Bank, I focused on the 2016 Report on Recommended PPP Contractual Provisions. This report provides practitioners with sample provisions that can be customized for specific projects, which saves significant amounts of time and money (and reduces headaches). The draft report has recently been released for public consultation. I also spoke about the related Global Infrastructure Hub report on Allocating Risks in PPP Contracts.
Regional support for PPPs was emphasized by presentations from the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance (a co-organizer of the APN events, along with the Korea Development Institute (KDI), the ADB and the World Bank Group), China’s PPP Center, and PPP units from the Philippines and Thailand. In addition, Dongjim Kim of the World Bank PPP Group outlined the recently-released report on Benchmarking PPP Procurement 2017, which generated a lively discussion of the data during the Q&A session, particularly on the topic of unsolicited PPP proposals.
Other high relevant topics that generated strong interest were:
- ADB’s AP3F Project Preparation Facility, a multi-donor fund which aims for a more consistent approach to PPP development in Asia.
- The World Bank PPP Group’s knowledge products, particularly the PPP Certification initiative, which provides PPP practitioners with credentials that demonstrate a thorough knowledge of best practices.
- The new Infrastructure Prioritization Framework (IPF) tool, which was designed to help governments determine which prospective infrastructure projects have the best environmental, social, economic and financial characteristics. The IPF is being piloted in several countries.
Two site visits provided participants with a first-hand view of PPPs in action. The first was to the Shinbundang Project, a combined heavy rail/light rail transportation system featuring driverless trains operated from a management control center. The second was to the Yong-In Sewage Treatment Project, sponsored by the Yong-In City Government, located near Seoul. This project involves both a water treatment facility and an associated pipeline, with a 20-year build and operate agreement. These visits showed that PPPs are more than signed agreements – when properly designed and executed, they lead to infrastructure that directly contributes to the national economy.
There was strong consensus that the 2016 APN Conference was very successful. Asian governments have demonstrated their commitment to using the PPP model in their economic development strategies and the APN Conferences will continue to serve as a forum for PPP practitioners to connect and share their knowledge.
Your feedback is much appreciated:
We are currently seeking feedback on the latest draft of the Report on Recommended Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Contractual Provisions. The consultation is currently open for public feedback to capture inputs and recommendations to feed into the next edition. The deadline for providing input is February 28, 2017. Thank you in advance for your feedback and support. Detailed information is available here.