By their very nature as long-term large infrastructure projects, public-private partnership (PPP) projects involve a vast array of interconnecting relationships. Core to any PPP project is the long-term contractual relationship between the government’s procuring authority and the private party (the project company). This is one of many relationships that will affect the success of a PPP.
Over the last decade, much has been written about globalisation and how we’re more connected than ever before. In the infrastructure world, we think of connectivity as the “linkages of communities, economies and nations through transport, communications, energy, and water networks across a number of countries” .
When we as consumers decide to invest our money—whether through shares, bonds, or other instruments—we look at whether our investment will deliver a solid financial return. It makes sense then that the same risk-return principle is applied to investments in infrastructure.
Infrastructure can often be used as a pawn in the political chess game, not only at a federal level between political parties, but at a foreign policy level too. It’s crucial that a cross-border infrastructure project has political support and cooperation from all parties involved, and that it’s being supported not for political gain, but to further regional development. A lack of strong political leadership can be detrimental to a cross-border project, and weak capacity can be a deterrent to investors.
As outlined earlier in this blog series, private investors are looking for reliable returns to justify the risks that they are taking. Financing and procurement of cross-border projects will often be more complex than national projects due to the scale of the project and compounded risks, and the financial returns may be more uncertain than for national projects.
Risks can be hard to define, manage and mitigate. In infrastructure projects that cross regional or national borders and involve multiple parties from both the public and private sector, these risks may be amplified.
While the infrastructure financing gap is huge, one of the main constraints to infrastructure development is not a lack of finance, but instead, a lack of well-prepared, bankable infrastructure projects.
Tackling the global infrastructure gap remains a priority for governments to drive inclusive growth and deliver quality infrastructure projects for their citizens.
Globally, governments are accountable for the development of infrastructure and the delivery of basic services in an affordable and inclusive manner. The ability of governments to nurture a conducive enabling environment for infrastructure investment has often been found to be a key differentiator between countries that successfully scale up infrastructure and those that face challenges in doing so.
Inadequate financing for project preparation can result in projects being taken to procurement without the requisite readiness, which can lead to cost and time overruns during implementation, or a project that is not well-suited to the needs of the public.
Well-planned and prioritised infrastructure investment improves productivity, engenders competitiveness and contributes to long-term sustainable economic growth. Nevertheless, the extent of realising these benefits from infrastructure investment varies considerably across sectors, by regions and by level of regulatory and institutional maturity.