Despite the presence of broadly recognized good practices and tools, governments around the world still fall behind in preparing, procuring, and managing effective public-private partnerships (PPPs) that meet the needs of their citizens. A new report launched early April, Procuring Infrastructure PPPs 2018, offers recommendations to governments to improve the quality of their regulations and better deliver infrastructure service through PPPs.
The report benchmarks the regulatory framework of 135 economies against international recognized good practices, scoring them on four elements: preparation, procurement, contract management, and treatment of unsolicited proposals. It found that the average performance of each of the categories varies across regions and income level, with OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) high-income economies and the Latin America and Caribbean region performing at or above average. In contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa and the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) regions have the lowest average scores across thematic areas. EAP sees the greatest intraregional variance. Across the board, the report found that there are opportunities for improvement in PPP preparation and contract management.
Despite the importance of an appropriate consideration of the fiscal implications of PPPs, the report found that this is still an uncommon practice. Approval by the finance authority to ensure PPPs' fiscal sustainability is not required in 19 percent of economies.
The report notes that most economies perform relatively close to recognized good practices in the procurement phase, particularly on public disclosure of information, i.e. by publishing PPP procurement and award notices. Yet, there are gaps in disclosure of project assessments and performance data, which could lead to better-managed projects.
"PPPs are an important tool in the arsenal of government contracting for infrastructure and other basic services,"
Both the Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) and African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) supported the development of the report.
Christopher Heathcote, CEO of the GI Hub, added, "The GI Hub seeks to identify and develop global leading practices for the procurement of infrastructure projects, and this new report helps highlight some of those practices. We use the data to prepare our global InfraCompass publication, a tool to assist governments with their infrastructure policy reform programs. Accordingly, the hub is pleased to support the preparation of this Bank Group report."
The report covers nearly three quarters of Sub-Saharan countries, demonstrating the region's commitment to engaging the private sector smartly as it increases resources for development.
Stephen Karangizi, Director of ALSF, noted, "Knowledge management is among the four strategic areas to which the ALSF is devoted. To close the widening infrastructure gap faced by many African governments, we work closely with our partners to streamline and facilitate the negotiation, procurement, and implementation of PPPs through knowledge products like this report."