Qatar should be aiming to use public-private partnerships (PPPs) across a wide range of sectors rather than just in the energy sector. In doing so, the Gulf state could follow the precedent of PPP Canada, the Canadian federal crown corporation devoted to the promotion and funding of PPPs.
The suggestion is made in a new report entitled “Public Private Partnerships: A Vehicle of Excellence for the Next Wave of Infrastructure Development in the GCC”, produced by Markab Advisory and sponsored by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority and Qatar’s Ministry of Business and Trade.
The survey found that Qatar already has a successful track record in PPPs in the power sector, with more than two-thirds of the state’s power generation installed through PPP arrangements. However, in calling for Qatar to become a “hub for infrastructure and project finance activities”, the report said PPPs could be extended to water, railways, roads, education, healthcare and sports infrastructure (Qatar is hosting soccer’s FIFA World Cup in 2022).
Calling for a more systematic approach to PPPs in the MENA region generally, the report says the region is at a “critical stage in its development and that PPP is poised to play a strategic role in that development”. However, it says the focus needs to shift from one-off projects to programmes.
Aamir Reman, managing partner at Markab Advisory, said: “As a catalyst to promote PPP in infrastructure, specifically in social sectors, the public sector can consider delivering funding to projects through a dedicated incubation fund to nurture the innovation culture as well as align interests of all the stakeholders.”
He added that an example would be PPP Canada, “where the federal government established a dedicated fund to promote PPP in various infrastructure sectors throughout the country”. It could be a “good case study” for Qatar, he said.
Qatar is planning to spend some $200 billion on infrastructure development in order to realise its National Vision 2030 development plan. The report estimates that PPPs could help it make cost savings of $30 billion through investment efficiencies and avoiding time and cost overruns – equivalent to 25 percent of the country’s annual GDP.