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African Development Bank Convenes Public Private Partnerships Workshop for Swaziland Energy Sector
The African Development Institute of the African Development Bank and the Southern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office will host a national workshop on “Enhancing Institutional Capacity to Implement Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the Energy Sector” in Mbabane, Swaziland on 8-12 October 2018. The workshop is being convened in collaboration with the African Legal Support Facility, a public international institution hosted by the Bank.
Aimed at closing the skills gap between practitioners and policy-makers in Swaziland and across the region, the week-long training will focus on building the capacities of energy industry players on structuring Public Private Partnerships. The workshop will hone the legal and financial capabilities of over 33 participants from the public and private sectors. It will also help them develop a comprehensive understanding of the role of PPPs in delivering infrastructure services to meet demand.
The five-day course is in response to a request from Swaziland’s Ministry of Finance for capacity enhancement in PPP policy and operational development for its personnel, sister ministries and energy industry practitioners.
The workshop will seek to provide participants, many of whom are key stakeholders in Swaziland, with the legal and financial knowledge, skills and tools to initiate and implement PPPs. It will build on the lessons learnt from and previous trainings on the newly initiated Swazi Rail Link project. It is also expected to contribute to strengthening PPP policy formulation expertise and improved access to energy in the region.
In specific terms, the workshop will cover legal, regulatory, policy and institutional frameworks, critical to establishing an enabling environment for PPP projects. It will address key industry challenges like project identification, risk allocation, financing, environmental safeguards, optimal structuring and procurement choices of PPP projects.
Providing participants with insights on current practices and perspectives on PPPs across Africa, the workshop will also address the need to adequately leverage private sector innovation and skills, and global best practice. Discussions from the plenary sessions are expected to enable Swaziland to strengthen the regulatory framework, incentivize and increase private sector participation in her energy sector. This is anticipated to contribute to increased space for PPPs and improved access to energy and infrastructure services.
Indicative attendance records for the workshop show that 30 percent of expected participants are women, from the Ministries of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Natural Resources and Energy, the Swaziland Energy Regulatory Authority, the Swaziland Electricity Company, and Public Works and Transport. Other participating institutions are the Ministries of Commerce, Industry and Trade; Housing and Urban Development, the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority and the Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations, representing civil society.
Participants’ expectations are high. In a pre-workshop survey, one participant stated that: “I am of the idea that after the workshop, I will be able to understand basic PPP concepts and the rationale behind PPPs, comprehend policy, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks for developing PPPs and will acquire basic financial skills and tools.”
Mr. Bheki Bhembe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Swaziland, will officially open the workshop. Dr. Pietro Toigo, the Bank’s Country Manager for Mozambique will represent the development finance institution at the workshop.
The training aligns with the Bank’s High 5 agenda to Light up and Power Africa.