India Shares Expertise in Public-Private Partnerships

06/06/2013
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Africa and India have a lot to offer to each other in terms of experiences and ideas, not only because of their trade but also cultural ties and similarities in social structures. In an effort to further improve a commercial relationship that has lasted over 2,000 years, an “India-Africa Partnership Day” was organized on the sidelines of the African Development Bank’s annual meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Thursday, May 27.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) of India jointly organized the event whose theme was “Sharing India’s Experiences with Africa in PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships)”. The event was aimed at the sharing of India’s experiences, knowledge and ideas on facilitating and financing infrastructure development through mechanisms including the PPP (public-private partnership) model.

“With the new emerging leadership in many African countries, Africa’s growth is going to become a reality,” said Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Economic Affairs, in India’s Finance Ministry. He added that India was currently Africa’s fourth-largest trading partner and has investments of US $50 billion on the continent.

Mayaram said EXIM Bank and the Indian Government would continue to support Africa’s development efforts and that he believed this is the “decade of Africa” with regards to economic growth.

Indian representatives at the event shared their experiences in the infrastructure development sector. Exim Bank CMD T.C.A. Ranganathan said there was no single solution to the challenge of infrastructure development and that there was need for constant innovation and progress in the sector.  

Mthuli Ncube, AfDB Chief Economist and Vice-President, said Africa’s infrastructure deficit could not be closed without PPPs. For the continent’s infrastructure development efforts to succeed, he said, African Governments need to lay down appropriate strategies and identify suitable investment projects.

Mayaram also spoke of the huge skepticism that the PPP experience in India had faced at the beginning. The experience had, however, proved very successful. With the use of PPPs, five-year infrastructure development plans had been fully met, on target. PPPs had also mobilized more than US $50 billion for the development of roads, airports, and telecommunications.

Mayaram said it had also become clear that India’s infrastructure sector had become impossible to sustain without the private sector. He said 50 per cent of India’s current (five-year) US $1 trillion infrastructure development program would be financed by the private sector.

He said this was proof that financial instruments have evolved and new instruments that could enable PPPs to grow should be created for both India and Africa. He said PPPs were here to stay and had become one way for developing countries to leapfrog from one stage in their development to another.