UN body, UNCTAD, speaks on need to assess public-private partnerships


Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) should carefully be assessed to ensure appropriate type of service to be provided, while delivering viable and bankable projects.

United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Chief of Transport, Frida Youssef, said this during a Capacity-Building Workshop in Lusaka on Monday.

Read more: UNECA: Committee outlines key issues to tackle poverty, boost trade, investments

This, she said, government needed to properly manage the process for successful PPPs through policy framework, legal and regulation system, proper evaluation and monitoring process, as well as long-term investment plans.

The PPPs should also have an operating framework within government

For Zambia, Youssef noted that a number of reforms in PPPs had already been made to enable new investments and private sector participation in different sectors.

She stressed the need of defining a strategic vision, building institutional and regulatory framework and an extended pipeline of bankable projects, with a solid preparedness, structuring and monitoring capacity across all PPPs projects.

“In this context, private sector participation can be expected to play an important role in attracting the investments required to achieve a new level of economic, sustainable and social development and improve access to quality infrastructure and services in Zambia, with the efficient use of the public and private funds,” Youssef said.

Speaking earlier, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Director – Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa, Eunice Kamwendo, said leveraging PPPs presented a collaborative approach that effectively bridged the gap between public resources and private sector expertise.

Kamwendo observed that the imperative for prioritising PPPs in infrastructure development was underscored by the pressing needs across Africa.

“With an annual infrastructure requirement of U$130 to US$170 billion and a staggering financing gap ranging from US$68to US$108 billion, the urgency to bridge these financing gaps cannot be overstated (As estimated by the African Development Bank),” she said.

On the workshop, Kamwendo said it was aimed at equipping the government and its agencies with the requisite knowledge and skills for delivery of well prepared, bankable, but also environmentally and socially sustainable PPP infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Finance and National Planning Acting Permanent Secretary, Lois Malube, said PPPs model presented a practical solution to meeting the development needs of Zambia.

Malube explained that this was important bearing in mind the many unmet developmental demands across the country.

“PPPs come in handy, not only to promote private sector led growth, but also government’s policy to reduce on borrowing, thus ensuring sustainable debt management.

“It is also envisioned that, PPPs will provide an opportunity for government to leverage on private sector competencies and financial resources that support the delivery of cost effective, resilient and sustainable infrastructure projects and services,” she said.

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