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World Bank: Good governance, key for private investment

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World Bank: Good governance, key for private investment

To ensure accountability, Nigeria has put details of its private, public partnerships (PPPs) on a website

To close the finance gap in infrastructure development in Africa, the governance gap would have to be closed, the Vice President, global themes, at the World Bank Group, Hartwig Schafer, has said.

“We need to design a strategic vision for infrastructure development in Africa, coordinate across all levels of government and procure with integrity,” he said at the First African Roundtable on Infrastructure Governance, which took place in South Africa last weekend.

“Good governance in infrastructure is a necessary condition to make sure the private sector can be brought in. And it must meet the highest standards as well as provide value for money,” he said.

“Make sure to take affordability of infrastructure services into account, because lower cost can be obtained by better governance.”

He emphasised that it is very important to identify the right public infrastructure project needed.

“Make sure it is actually meeting the needs and that every segment of the population has equal access to the benefit. Also supervise that it goes according to plan. Transparency is crucial,” he said.

Nigeria, for example, recently put details of its Private, Public Partnerships (PPPs) on a website. Schafer said in this way the government and decision makers can be held to account.

“Transparency means making the finances, details and conditions of a deal public. The World Bank, for instance, recently put all its procurement on a website so everyone can see the transparency of the process and the origin,” explained Schafer.

He said the World Bank looks at the growth potential in a country, trying to identify bottlenecks, which can be addressed.

“We do upstream analyses, looking at the private and public sector parts in order to form one comprehensive package,” he explained.

“All levels of government must work together. We find inefficiencies when these partners do not come together.”

He added that the social aspects of inclusion have become a very important part of having equal access to the benefits infrastructure development bring. This would include the incorporation of issues of gender, ethnicity and disability.

“On all our projects we have a zero tolerance policy. We have, for instance, banned a number of companies where we found collusion,” he said.

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