Abuja, Nigeria, 25 January 2018 — The African region is facing an increasingly-precarious infrastructure deficit, particularly in the power and transportation sectors. This gap is being widened by a constellation of forces, including growing populations, surging regional and international trade, urbanization, and shrinking national budgets. For African economies to maintain their steady growth, it’s estimated that USD 90 billion will need to be invested, annually, across the coming decade, and much of this investment is expected from the private-sector. In order to help structure, negotiate, implement and manage such private-sector investments, the African Legal Support Facility ("ALSF") has launched a suite of capacity building workshops which aim to strengthen the capacities of Nigerian government officials in the area of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), particularly as they relate to infrastructure development.
Organized on the basis of a Cost-Sharing Grant provided by the ALSF to the Government of Nigeria, and held from 23-25 January, the first training event was designed to entirely demystify the process of identifying and structuring Public-Private Partnership infrastructure projects, and was co-hosted with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Finance.
Although only 40 participants were initially expected to attend, more than 51 government representatives joined the Workshop by the third day. The participants benefitted from training provided by legal experts from Norton Rose Fulbright, an international law firm, and Olaniwun Ajayi, a Nigerian law firm, appointed by the ALSF to help support the Government build capacity in the Public-Private Partnership infrastructure sector. The two participating law firms were supported by Canadian Pacific Consulting Services (CPCS), a financial advisory firm which regularly supports the development of Public-Private Partnership infrastructure projects.
The event benefitted from remarks delivered by high-level government officials, including Mrs. Larai Shuaibu, Advisor to the Minister of Finance; Mr. Tor Tsavsar MNI, Director of Technical Services at the Federal Ministry of Finance, speaking on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance; Mr. Chidi Izuwah, Acting Director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC); and Mr. Folarin Alayande, Special Assistant to the President for the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
How are PPP projects identified and structured? Do the appropriate institutional capacities exist to manage a PPP project? How best do we implement a transparent and competitive procurement process? In modules spread across the three-day event, Norton Rose Fulbright, Olaniwun Ajayi and CPCS provided clarity to these, and many other, questions.
In view of the presence of Nigerian officials from 12 different government ministries—in addition to delegates from the Office of the Vice President—efforts were made to develop sector-specific presentations. Each of these presentations elaborated on the challenges and opportunities associated with PPP projects in the extractives, agricultural and rural development, transportation, and power sectors.
"The skill and knowledge gained here will contribute in achieving the future plans of the Ministry of Water Resources and will help facilitate our organizational goals, by setting up sensitization programs on how best to attract private sector financing for water infrastructure projects," described Esther Oyeniyi Ajibewa, PPP Desk Officer at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, who attended the event.
"PPP structured projects are key to curbing the financing gap at the root of Africa’s infrastructure deficit. Stakeholder engagement and developing common negotiation positions are also key elements in making such projects succeed for Governments, and I think and hope that such dialogue began here at this Workshop," explained Nchimunya D. Ndulo, Legal Counsel of the ALSF.
Contact: Omar Yusuf, Communications Officer, African Legal Support Facility, firstname.lastname@example.org
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