Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

FEMIP wants to develop public-private partnerships south of the Mediterranean

Written by Christiane Navas, NICE on Tuesday, May 24th 2011 à 15:06 | Read 426 times

FEMIP, the financial arm of the EIB, has put a technical assistance programme in place to encourage partner Mediterranean countries to resort to PPP in order to accelerate the realisation of their major infrastructure programmes.

Tanger Med (photo C.Garcia)
Tanger Med (photo C.Garcia)
MEDITERRANEAN. Developing new economic activities and creating employment are a prerequisite for consolidating the Arab spring that is blossoming south of the Mediterranean. The EIB has estimated that some €300 billion of investment will be required between now and 2030 to provide essential public infrastructure in sectors such as water and energy provision, urban services etc.

Very few states are able to meet the cost of such investment on their own. Public-private partnerships, which are used in the European Union, are one solution to finance, build and operate this infrastructure. However, they are complex montages that require financial and technical expertise that countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean do not yet have. 

For this reason FEMIP, the financial arm of the EIB dedicated to the socio-economic development of nine Mediterranean countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon), has launched a technical assistance programme to encourage the use of public-private partnerships. 

Exchange good practices

Following a first seminar at OECD headquarters in Paris in February 2011, a conference and workshops will be held in Casablanca on 30 May 2011, bringing together exponents of PPP and Moroccan government authorities. To prepare for this meeting, a study was carried out at the request of FEMIP to prepare an appraisal of the legal and financial framework in force governing PPP in the nine countries concerned and to promote exchanges of good practices, thanks to the comparative study with countries in the European Union. 

This work raises several points. In addition to the need to clearly define the economic and social issues that constitute grounds for the deployment of a PPP policy, it is important to put appropriate legislative and regulatory tools in place (something that does not always happen) and to involve agents on a national and local level. With a secure legal environment, the objective is to attract potential international investors due to the fact that financial and banking markets in the various Mediterranean states do not always have the scale required to finance large long-term investments.  


Recent development

While Israel has invested in public-private partnerships since the beginning of the 2000s through some 20 projects, in particular in transport infrastructure and water desalination plants, such as Hadera, which drew on financial assistance from the EIB, in other countries the use of PPP has barely begun. 

This is the case in Tunisia, which began using PPP in 2008, favouring concessions to develop infrastructure that includes airports. In Morocco, the Tangiers port complex, which was 50% financed by private investors, is an example of the success of public-private partnerships. 

Finally, at the gates of Europe, Turkey, which has a long history of PPP, completed its legislative framework in 2008 and 2010 to promote the use of this solution in order to develop its infrastructure. Thus, the future artificial canal that will ease congestion in the Bosporus Strait will be built using PPP. 



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