Exporting Public Private Partnerships

Exporting PPP's 

By: David Baxter, Executive Director at Institute of Public Private Partnerships

In the past week I participated in the US Commercial Services’ (Department of Commerce) Africa Trade Winds event held in Sandton South Africa. The event - one of the biggest ever - introduced 500 participating US companies to business opportunities across Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Many interesting panel discussions were held with experts participating and sharing ideas on how US corporations could penetrate the emerging Sub-Saharan African market and be competitive with other countries who have already have long term African commercial strategies. Interestingly, it was pointed out to particiExporting Public Private Partnerships

pants that the US presence in Africa is not new, a case in point being the Ford Motor Company, which has been present in South Africa for 91 years.

 The African market s not new to the Institute for Public Private Partnerships (IP3) either. We have been operating successfully and actively in over 46 African countries for the last 21 years where we have built a client base of over 1,400 public and private sector clients.

 At the Trade Winds event I was honored to be asked to participate on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) panel discussion that focused on how US corporations could successfully compete for large infrastructure tenders (from telecommunications to transportation) for PPPs issued by African governments. During the panel discussion a number of strategies were discussed that can help companies compete for PPP tenders – in affect – export their PPP expertise. They included the following: 

  • Establishing a local presence (or partnership with a reputable local company) so that “intelligence” can be gathered on national infrastructure development strategies at least a year before the tender EOI or RFP is issued
  • Developing an understanding of the national PPP enabling environment so that your tender “capture strategy” is fine tuned to local constraints
  • Reviewing national strategic infrastructure PPP pipelines that have the support of national politicians and treasury PPP Units
  • Establishing a long term presence and team that would be required for a PPP contract that could have a long term commitment of 20 to 30 years
  • Really understanding that PPPs are a financial contractually defined partnership between a public sector institution and the private sector – not a philanthropic exercise where unsustainable public sector institutions receive “free money” for “public relations” purposes

 PPP market capture strategic impacts can amplified if US commercial/economic officers located in embassies in target country markets provide additional support to their US companies. Many countries - for example - the UK and Spain have aggressive economic strategies to support their national companies’ efforts to export PPP expertise and to capture PPP infrastructure projects. These countries have an impressive success rate. There is no reason why US companies cannot achieve this level of success considering how many US companies are leaders in technology and innovation.

 So the question needs to be asked – “What can be done to make US companies more competitive?”

 If the US is genuinely serious about expanding into emerging markets and capturing a larger share of the PPP infrastructure market and exporting its PPP expertise, it is recommended that the following strategic actions be adopted that will empower the US private sector rech:

  • Exploring the development of an interagency US PPP Export Advisory Unit – that includes reputable US PPP private sector experts – to drive a focused and invigorated initiative
  • Developing an official national program that brings public and private sector institutions together to collaboratively develop a synchronized strategic international PPP export strategy
  • Pursuing collaborative PPP best practices that focus on synchronizing the Department of State, Department of Commerce, the MCC, and USAID individual programs
  • Aggressively develop a national PPP interagency task group that speaks the same PPP language, has the same goals and is US private sector friendly
  • Enabling an interagency agency task group to actively shares intelligence on countries’ PPP pipelines with private sector trade institutions
  • Developing a risk analysis data base that can help US companies identify mitigation strategies that would help them confidently compete in emerging markets
  • Identifying PPP national expert champions who can help US corporations deploy internationally
  • Providing strategic advisory, technical and training support programs for the corporate USA to capture emerging market PPP projects
  • Attaching US PPP private sector experts as advisors to US embassy commercial officers - for short term deployments - when large PPP infrastructure projects are about to be tendered by governments
  • Including PPP private experts in all outward economic missions who can hold strategic workshops for US companies interested in bidding on PPP opportunities
  • Holding PPP strategic workshops in different countries where national ministries and government agencies engage US companies and share insights on their national PPP strategic pipelines
  • Helping countries develop the institutional capacity to launch, manage and operate successful long term PPP projects
  • Developing a “library” of success stories that can be shared with foreign governments so that the credentials of US companies can be highlighted
  • Hiring PPP technical advisors that can advise on:
    • PPP frameworks and enabling environment constraints
    • Risk mitigation
    • True feasibility of proposed PPP projects
    • Countries’ true PPP readiness
  • Develop strong liaisons between US Government institutions, foreign country institutions and the private sector
  • Developing inside US government agency PPP institutional capacity expertise

We need to ask ourselves can it be done? It can be done – many other countries are light years ahead of the US.

 Should it be done? Most certainly if the US wishes to be a competitive exporter of PPPs.

When should it be done? Yesterday!!

Should you wish to find out more about PPPs, please visit www.ip3.org


Zarak International Blog

Global Trade FAQ's               

Global Trade Events Calendar

Zarak International Featured Trade Products

Zarak Global Logistics and Customs Clearance