Several actions are multiplied for this purpose. The next one is the big Forum to the credit of Odilia Gnassingbe, Director of CADERDT (Autonomous Center of Study and Reinforcement of Capacities for Development in Togo) from the 22nd to the 23rd of this month.
Referring to the Oxfam NGO study which shows that PPPs in the agricultural sector may have a "tendency to benefit the most powerful and privileged ones from the positive spin-offs of the investments, and to make the risks bear with the more vulnerable," it is important to master the entire outline of PPPs before embarking on them.
A study by CADERDT reveals that Togolese government believes that PPPs will be used to remove constraints linked to the use of borrowing resulting either from prudent public financial management policies or from real market and financial difficulties and to increase available funding by generating additional income through the introduction of fees.
The use of PPP in the agricultural sector will therefore be an alternative that promotes efficiency gains by not only filling investment deficits in the sector, but also by benefiting from good practices and innovations introduced by the sector. Private sector with a view to more intensive and innovative exploitation of the sector's potential through the introduction of new farming technologies, the creation of added value and jobs, and ultimately an impact on the trade balance.
It will surely contribute to a better anchoring and competitiveness of Togolese agricultural sector in a modernized global market.
But, risks are also there
Whenever the advantages inherent to PPPs are mentioned, the disadvantages that can be generated must also be presented because, PPPs, as we often recall, is not a miracle solution.
For the agricultural sector, these risks can be of two main types.
First of all, it can impact the land rights of communities located in areas identified as investment areas in the framework of the implementation of PPP projects.
Populations may be exposed to the risk of displacement as result of expropriations where the existing land tenure system does not provide sufficient protection for these populations.
Clearly, the success of the PPP framework that will be in place in this area sector will depends on the degree of public interest guarantee.
Moreover, the possibility of distortions due to competitive practices harmful to the internal market must not be ruled out. Instead of promoting the inclusion of smallholders, women and youth, PPP projects that have not sufficiently anticipated these components could put them on the sidelines.
Secondly, the implementation of large-scale projects can be a threat in that it can widen inequalities between large farmers and smaller farmers. In particular, there are significant threats to family farming that deserve to be taken into account.
Strong political will is needed
CADERDT study reports that PPPs represent a mechanism for public-private collaboration that is regularly used in a wide range of areas to provide all kinds of goods and services.
The concept of PPP is very popular and interesting. It has gradually gained a central place in the financing of public development projects.
As such, several African countries, particularly those in WAEMU area, are currently in a dynamic process of acquiring instruments for promoting PPPs.
But to succeed, PPPs require several factors able to ensure the success of their implementation.
Indeed, it should be pointed out that this alternative mechanism for financing development projects remains complex and delicate in relation to the classical formulas of public action.
Therefore, the success or the failure of PPPs depends largely on whether or not there is enabling environment for their promotion and implementation.
Also, in order to create effective partnerships, it is essential to take into account some considerations and devices to guarantee the success of projects intended to be implemented in PPP mode.
In this case, it is usually:
- The establishment of solid institutional and legal frameworks that protect the interests of public entities, private operators and the general interest of the project's beneficiaries;
- The development of rigorous, transparent and efficient selection methods for both projects and private partners;
- But also to ensure the most optimal and equitable distribution of risks associated with PPP projects to be implemented.
It appears that good governance of PPP projects starts with the beginning of the project cycle in the needs assessment and the design of appropriate solutions and, before all, with the establishment of an investment climate and appropriate legal and institutional framework; all driven by strong political will.