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World Bank eyes problems in public-private partnerships


September 30, 2016

Water, sanitation, energy, transport, telecommunications, health care, and education. These are just a few indicators of a successful and stable economy.

And working behind the scenes in many cases are public-private partnerships (PPP) bringing about efficiency and sustainability in such public services.

However, most governments still have work to do when it comes to good practices in public-private partnerships, according to a new report from the World Bank.

The report, Benchmarking PPP Procurement 2017, looked at 82 economies and found most are missing the mark in at least one of the four analysed areas – preparation, procurement, unsolicited proposals and contract management.

Project preparation and contract management are the most troublesome, according to the report, with every income grouping performing the worst in these areas.

Average performance of each of the categories varies across regions and income level, with low-income nations showing significant room for improvement.

Conversely, OECD high-income economies, Latin American and the Caribbean region perform at or above average.

For Fernanda Ruiz Nunez, Senior Economist with the World Bank, “the report aims to inform decision-making on the design of PPP procurement policies and regulations by comparing economies to recognized good practices that ensure transparency and encourage fair competition.”

According to the report, only 16% of economies require data to be made publicly available, even though transparency is essential to the success of public-private partnerships.

“This benchmarking exercise is the first attempt to collect and present systematic data on PPP procurement on a large scale by providing comparable data on the regulatory frameworks governing the processes,” said Tania Ghossein, Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, World Bank Group.

The report adds, every country is unique. Every country has its own set of challenges, priorities and financial constraints, which means PPP may not always be the answer.

In some cases, PPP can bring great benefit by leveraging the management capacity, innovation, and expertise of the private sector, while at other times a traditional public sector approach could be more appropriate.

For additional information on procurement in government, check out our three-part series exploring electronic Government Procurement  (e-GP) (1) benefits, (2) performance considerations, (3) implementation and systems integration pitfalls

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Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Marketing Communications Specialist at FreeBalance
Michael works in the marketing and communications department following a career in journalism. Michael is currently learning Ruby on Rails and loves discovering new music.

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