What transforms a public-private partnership (PPP) project from a desirable project on a government “wish list” to an attractive investment opportunity in the eyes of a potential private sector partner? This guide seeks to enhance the chances of developing effective partnerships between the public and the private sectors by addressing one of the main obstacles to the effective delivery of PPP projects: having the right information on the right project for the right partners at the right time.
The World Bank’s Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI) Project Database suggests that other regions of the developing world have moved ahead of Africa in involving the private sector in infrastructure development (see
figure 1.1), although investment commitments in Africa increased sharply in 2005–06.
Set against the impressive growth rates in a number of African economies recently and the level of potential demand for investment (estimated at US$38 billion a year), low demand for infrastructure is unlikely to be the reason for the relatively low levels of PPP activity in Africa.2 Equally, if the growth of some sectors such as mobile telephony across the continent is a guide, the ability and willingness of citizens to pay for better-quality infrastructure may not be the constraint. In other words, the work required is likely to be related to factors affecting the supply side of PPP projects, including the obstacles to mobilizing private sector resources.
Therefore, this guide focuses specifically on what should be done, and when, beginning with the early stages of the project development cycle. It is not a project preparation manual. However, it touches on many related issues, because project preparation and interface with the private sector should go hand in hand.