Newly trained African infrastructure specialists poised to help close $3 trillion infrastructure gap
After more than two months of intensive training on infrastructure public-private partnerships (PPPs), the inaugural cohort of the Africa Infrastructure Fellowship Program (AIFP) graduated today. Developed by the Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) and Meridiam, with the support of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the AIFP is designed to upskill African government infrastructure specialists and enable them to facilitate increased investment in a pipeline of new, sustainable infrastructure that has positive social and economic impact in African communities. The program is the first of its type to link the private and public sectors in African infrastructure procurement and delivery, designed in partnership with African governments and investors.
The 10 Fellows come from five partner countries: Ethiopia, Gabon, Namibia, Cameroon and Senegal. They undertook the program, including academic training at the Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, in Paris, France.
Moustapha Djitte, Magistrate of the Senegalese Public Procurement Regulation Authority and AIFP 2020 Fellow, described the benefits of the multifaceted training program: “I gained theoretical and practical knowledge on all aspects of PPPs and we had the opportunity to meet experienced practitioners in the field, some with 30 years’ experience. They were all very engaging and open to sharing their experience with us. Our goal now is to implement all the knowledge acquired to improve the procurement and execution of PPPs in our countries.”
The AIFP taps the expertise of the private and the public sectors to help the Fellows understand the critical elements in planning and overseeing infrastructure PPPs. It includes workshops with multilateral development banks and other public and private entities, as well as an internship with one of the program’s private or public sector partners. Through the program, the Fellows also complete the APMG Public-Private Partnerships Certification Program.
“The Global Infrastructure Hub is so pleased to be a key partner of the Africa Infrastructure Fellowship Program. I’m confident that with their prior knowledge and the new knowledge they’ve gained from the program, the graduates will be influential in shaping sustainable infrastructure in Africa for decades to come. I look forward to continuing our work with them, to increase the impact and value of the program for their home countries,” the GI Hub’s CEO, Marie Lam-Frendo said.
The Fellows of the 2020 cohort are the first alumni of the AIFP and the first members of a Pan-African network of experienced PPP practitioners who will share knowledge and experience with other Fellows. A first AIFP alumni meeting will take place in Paris in July 2021 and the next cohort of the AIFP is planned to commence in October 2021.
“The AIFP Foundation is pleased with the success of the first edition and will continue to work with its partners to perpetuate and expand the initiative. This pilot session represents an essential first step towards the development of larger projects for capacity building in Africa that could be strongly supported by Europe in other crucial sectors such as health, economy and finance,” said Thierry Déau, Chairman of the AIFP Foundation.
Partners of the program include the French Treasury, the International Finance Corporation, MIGA (World Bank Group), the French Development Agency, Société Générale, the African Legal Support Facility, Colas among many others.