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2008 AEC -Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure in Africa


In recent years, there has been a profound reassessment of public policy towards the infrastructure sectors globally with a palpable shift in orientation towards private management and ownership. This study appraises the record of private sector participation in infrastructure (PPI) in Africa. The results of almost two decades of regulatory reforms, implementation of the privatization and liberalization agenda, combined with the influx of private investment in infrastructure have decidedly been mixed. There has been a ―policy mistake‖ founded on the dogma that infrastructure would be financed by the private sector. For various reasons, mainly involving investment climates and rates of return, private investment has been limited in terms of volume, sectors and countries.

The experience of the last 15 years, however, shows that most countries will be better off working out a partnership with the private sector to achieve sustained efficiency gains and minimize fiscal financing requirements. To begin to solve Africa‘s infrastructure investment problems, broad institutional reform along with greater financial commitments by governments and the private sector will be required. Private participation in infrastructure requires fiscal reform and improvements in public sector management. It also requires careful attention to the basics of project design, including identifying and allocating risk and ensuring sound procurement practices.

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