Informed consultations are key to stronger public-private partnerships, say experts

Experts have said that for partnerships between government and private sector to work well, there is need for more informed consultations, broader civil society involvement and closer monitoring of projects by all stakeholders.

Experts have said that for partnerships between government and private sector to work well, there is need for more informed consultations, broader civil society involvement and closer monitoring of projects by all stakeholders.

This was observed this week during a one-day meeting to review the guidelines of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the country.

According to Emmanuel Hategeka, Rwanda Development Board’s (RDB) chief operating officer, while government put in place the legal and institutional framework, and the PPP law within which to negotiate and execute such partnerships, there’s need to continuously review the tenets of the partnerships.

“The government leads the development of the guidelines, there is need to closely engage all the stakeholders involved in the PPP process. Today, we are engaging the different stakeholders to review the guidelines and solicit their views which will be considered before the guidelines are approved,” he said.

During the process, Hategeka said that through the consultations it is easier to get more great ideas from the people who have expertise and that this can inform decision making.

Rakesh Bangera, an expert in PPPs, also said that to ensure that PPPs contribute significantly to economic development, involving stakeholders in all stages is key.

“To be able to sustain partnerships there is a lot of consultations that should happen. In the design phase of projects, including bidding stage need to negotiations and conclusion of the agreement, we engage all the stakeholders,” he said.

He added that the involvement of all stakeholders provides room to highlight the gaps which would lead to carrying out of a customised PPP strategy.

Rwanda benefiting

According to this year’s World Bank Report, in the last 10 years Africa welcomed partnerships in infrastructure projects, with the construction of roads, bridges and dams dominant.

There are also partnerships in power generation, renewable energy, health and telecommunications.

According to Yasser El- Gammal, the country manager for the World Bank Group Rwanda is among the top countries in the continent that have greatly benefitted from PPPs.

“Rwanda has realised the importance of attracting private financing for different sectors, in particular the infrastructure area. The country has been successful in concluding a number of PPP project. There is need to move into more competitive public-private partnerships,” he said.

“Today’s discussion provides details on how the process is going to work to ensure that there is the same level of information across the government entities, financial sector and the potential investors,”

Hategeka also said that the government is involved in a wide range of PPP projects, including in the areas of infrastructure, health care, and education, and that all these are mega projects that require heavy funding.

“To bridge the funding gap for these large-scale projects and other sector specific projects, you need to tap into the resources provided by the private sector,” Hategeka noted.

He highlighted that the private sector appetite for PPPs has increased and that this can be seen through a number of energy, transport and water projects, particularly the Kigali Bulk Water and Bugesera International Airport, among others.

Kigali Bulk Water Supply (KBWS), a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project is backed by the Government and the African Development Bank, while the construction of Bugesera International Airport, the biggest PPP presently, is being executed in partnership with Mota Engil Group.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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