'Public-private model can boost Africa's trade, growth'

Experts and opinion leaders from India and Sub-Saharan Africa have called for strong public-private partnerships to overcome Africa’s infrastructural gaps and boost intra-continental trade.

Participants at the Indo-Africa Summit, held last week, elaborated on India’s public-private partnership experience, which some speakers described as a good model for Africa, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) said in a press release late Tuesday.

“African governments cannot be expected, and are indeed in no position, to take early-stage project risks, although they should be. This risk arguably resides better with the private sector, to better realize commercial aspirations,” said Sanjeev Gupta, executive director for financial services at the Africa Finance Corporation.

Gupta explained how various fragmented systems in Africa constituted practical challenges, while India had the benefit of being one country with one set of challenges.

Solomon Quaynor, AfDB’s vice president for private sector, said the bank had created the Africa50 Infrastructure Fund as a platform for private sector-led project preparation in the continent.

“In partnership with Africa50, we continue to innovate, including on infrastructure asset recycling opportunities, in order to attract later-stage private infrastructure investors into brownfield projects, thereby releasing capital for governments to invest in new infrastructure PPPs in their infrastructure development plans,” he said.

Dinesh Joshi, chairman of India’s IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said India had shown the world how successful public-private partnerships could be carried out in various sectors.

“India has paved the path for success,” he said.