eAfrica: The electronic Journal of Governance and Innovation, Vol 3, August 2005

The special feature in this edition of eAfrica, looks at a study by the South African Institute of International Affairs, which examined successful and failed PPPs. It concluded that before Africa can unleash the potential of PPPs, it must change its relationship with business. Where deals are awarded on the basis of the best plan and capacity, not the best price, there is greater room for political interference. Using PPPs means creating experts, injecting public scrutiny into public contracts, and seeking business opinion. By getting this right, Africa can improve its public services and infrastructure and boost its reputation as a good investment.

The next article is an industry view about getting realistic on tenders, stating that the current PPP model cannot provide a rapid cure for Africa’s development needs, since few countries can implement it effectively. Infrastructure needs to be improved, corruption should be curbed, and there exist commercial hot-spots throughout Africa to lure private capital into infrastructure improvement. An alternative to the PPP bid process is preselecting contractors before negotiating projects.

The second article is an interview with the director of business development of the unit to control major deals in the national Treasury which was set up to manage PPPs. Questions were asked concerning the idea of PPPs, about PPPs and government and the private sector, how developing countries can use PPPs, problems with other government tenders, advice to countries considering using more PPPs, and the importance of transparency to prevent corruption.