IFC Taps PPPs to Increase Access to Clean Water in Africa
For millions of people in Africa, the simple act of turning a tap to access fresh water is still a dream. According to the United Nations, only 56 percent of people in sub Saharan have access to clean water – compared to 91 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.
IFC is helping African governments meet the challenge of providing reliable access to clean water and sanitation to rising populations by teaming the public sector with private sector funding and expertise.
IFC’s Advisory Services in Public-Private Partnerships team recently brought together more than one hundred government officials and private sector representatives in Dakar for a conference to discuss how to increase the number of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in water, and to learn from past successes and failures.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are agreements between governments and private firms to support broader access to public infrastructure and services. IFC is the only multilateral organization that offers national and municipal governments direct advisory services on designing and implementing PPP transactions to improve infrastructure and access to basic services such as water, power, health and education.
A key theme of the conference was the importance of the third “P” in PPPs: partnerships. Both public and private sectors have a comparative advantage that can be leveraged when they work together to deliver services.
"Today, the long queues of women carrying bowls on their heads in search of water distribution points have disappeared from the capital and towns of Senegal," said Senegal’s Prime Minister, Abdoul Mbaye, who opened the conference. He said that PPPs have helped Senegal and other countries vastly improve water and sanitation services to their citizens
At the event, participants gained insight into the opportunities and challenges of PPPs from government, practitioner and financier perspectives. The conference also shared best practices in the management of the water and sanitation sectors.
Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for West and Central Africa, said, “With rapid urbanization and a population exceeding 800 million, water provision in Sub-Saharan Africa is struggling to keep pace. To raise the coverage of safe water and sanitation, national governments must promote and harness the private sector to deliver high quality affordable sustainable services.”
IFC hosted the conference in partnership with the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA), the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), and the Senegalese Ministry of Water and Sanitation.
This event is part of the series of regular PPP capacity building and networking events sponsored by IFC Advisory Services in Public-Private Partnerships (www.ifc.org/ppp).
In Sub-Saharan Africa, IFC has advised on PPPs that have helped governments meet the demands of expanding urbanization, the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure, and providing services to those lacking or underserved. Successful PPP projects include:
Kenya Airways: IFC advised the Kenyan government in the privatization of Kenya airways, Africa's first successful airline privatization, which improved transportation across the continent.
AES Sonel: IFC advised Cameroon's government in privatizing its power sector in 2001. Since that time, new owner-operator AES Sonel has invested more than $1 billion connecting close to 340,000 people to its system.
Lesotho National Referral Hospital: IFC's Lesotho Hospital PPP replaced the country’s main public hospital with a new 425-bed facility (the Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital), supported by a network of refurbished urban clinics (clinics opened in October 2010, hospital opened in October 2011).