Like many developing countries, Haiti needs significant investment in infrastructure to extend access to basic services and enable economic development. Experience in the Caribbean and elsewhere suggests that leveraging private sector resources (both financial and expertise) can be key to improving and expanding the provision of infrastructure assets and services, particularly given constrained fiscal space. With the help of PPIAF, in partnership with IFC and the Inter-American Development Bank, Haiti is positioning itself to leverage private sector resources for the development of its infrastructure.
PPIAF’s ongoing work in Haiti began in January 2014 with an aim of building the Government’s capacity to prepare PPPs. The technical assistance program focuses on building capacity by embedding key procedures and functions in Haiti’s PPP Unit (Unité Centrale de Gestion des Partenariats Public-Privé, UCG/PPP), housed in the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The program will also help the PPP Unit address key policy and strategic issues such as project identification, project appraisal and dealing with unsolicited bids. On this vein, the program has a practical element that will study the viability of a real-life project in Haiti’s project pipeline so that the government can gain ‘hands on’ expertise and experience with developing projects at the earliest stage of the project cycle. The government, in line with recommendations made under another PPIAF funded activity -- the Caribbean Infrastructure PPP Roadmap -- identified a new commuter-ferry boat service in Port-au-Prince Bay as the first project to study.
Since January, the work has progressed at a rapid pace. In March 2014, IFC Advisory Services, with PPIAF support, hosted a PPP training seminar in Port au Prince for Haitian government officials. Over the course of three days roughly 70 government officials participated in interactive sessions designed to build their knowledge about PPPs and how PPPs could be used in the Haitian context. Topics discussed included the PPP deal cycle, the necessary legal and regulatory environment for PPPs, financing structures for PPPs and the PPP tendering process among others. Based on feedback collected most participants were quite happy with the training.
In addition to this capacity building training, IFC and PPIAF provided funding so that, Emmanuelle Georges, one of the core members of Haiti’s PPP unit could travel to the Harvard Kennedy School for a week long intensive training on PPPs in infrastructure. She really enjoyed the experience and found the case method to be very challenging but perfect for the kind of work they will be doing at UCG/PPP.
"We were really thinking and discussing like decision makers, trying to find solutions to real issues and making strategic recommendations.” She also remarked that she “could easily relate” to the cases, many of which occurred in countries of similar economic development to Haiti. Overall she walked away with some ideas of decisions they need to take for some projects they are currently working on.
In addition to the strong training element of this capacity building work in Haiti, the ‘hands-on’ training through the analysis of the viability of a commuter-ferry boat service in Port-au-Prince Bay began in early April 2014. Local and international consultants collaborated with each other, members of the Haitian Government and development partners like IFC, PPIAF and IDB to collect information for their analysis. The final report is expected to be delivered to the Haitian government in late June.
Over the next fiscal year, PPIAF looks forward to working with the Government of Haiti evaluate the viability analysis and further develop its policies and procedures to enable it to attract private sector investment in infrastructure.