EBRD and partners hold high-level global forum on PPPs in Tunisia to drive investment in key sectors

By Nibal Zgheib

EBRD and IFC are holding a high-level global forum on public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Tunis today to boost investment in key sectors.

(left to right) Mouayed Makhlouf (IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa), Zied Ladhari (Minister of Development, Investment & International Cooperation, Tunisia), Youssef Chahed (Head of Governement, Tunisia) and Pierre Heilbronn (EBRD Vice President for Policies and Partnerships).

Aiming to boost investment in key sectors, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Tunisian Ministry of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, and the General Commission for Public-Private Partnerships, are holding a high-level global forum on public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Tunis today.

Thirty-three major projects worth more than 13 billion Tunisian dinars will be presented at the forum, which will be led by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed alongside a number of ministers and key stakeholders. The government is also presenting its new, recently finalised PPP legislative framework at the forum, which covers vital sectors such as energy, water, transport, logistics, infrastructure and technology.

The global forum is part of the government’s commitment to adopting new mechanisms to advance investment, boost growth and open up opportunities for national and foreign private investment, easing the burden on public finances.                    

EBRD Vice President for Policies and Partnerships, Pierre Heilbronn, commented: “I am delighted to participate in the opening of the International PPP Forum. International institutions like the EBRD and IFC, together with the private sector, can play an important role along with the state in the development of sustainable economic growth, with better infrastructure. We stand ready to provide substantial support for the realisation of this pipeline, through project preparation and financing.”

IFC has advised governments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region on PPP transactions in a number of sectors, including airports, roads, public transport, power generation and distribution, water and wastewater, health, education and waste. Clients have included Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza.

“Governments in MENA urgently need to improve the quality of their infrastructure,” said Mouyaed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “IFC is committed to helping governments meet this challenge through mechanisms like PPPs, which play a strong part in funding vital infrastructure projects and improving service delivery, and forums like this one provide an excellent way to move the discussion and projects forward.”

The high-level forum will bring together a number of international experts as well as key players from the financial, investment and advisory sectors; senior officials from regional and international financial institutions, banks and investment funds; leading local and foreign investors; and representatives of the Tunisian administration, national organisations and civil society.

A number of projects that could be implemented using PPPs will be presented and discussed in special workshops during the forum, as well as a workshop to discuss PPP prospects in local communities.

Since the EBRD began operations in Tunisia in September 2012, the Bank has invested over €730 million across 33 projects in the country. The Bank’s investments aim to support the restructuring and strengthening of the financial sector and financing private enterprises, supporting energy efficiency and developing a sustainable energy sector as well as facilitating non-sovereign financing for infrastructure development. To date, the Bank has also supported 530 small and medium-sized enterprises with business advisory services.