The Ministry of Economy and Finance, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Mediterranean Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) held May 30th 2011 in Casablanca, the 9th Regional Conference FEMIP under the theme: Meeting the infrastructure challenge in the Mediterranean, the potential of Public- Private Partnerships.
This international conference coincides a time when more than 300 billion Euros of investment will be needed by 2030 to upgrade the Mediterranean infrastructure and public services.
la Méditerranée, cette conférence a répondu à un triple objectif : Bringing together key players from the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) from both sides of the Mediterranean, the conference met three objectives:
- Promote ongoing projects, recent achievements in PPP and the opportunities in the Mediterranean region in terms of profitability, efficient allocation of risks and legal and administrative framework appropriate for such financial instrument;
Encourage partner countries to rapidly increase their ability to mobilize the private sector and to enhance their attractiveness for foreign direct investment (FDI) using the PPP as a tool of modernization that would not only raise the capital required for infrastructure investments , but also provide transfer of technical and managerial expertise;
- Pursue the PPP joint action in the Mediterranean using the experience of the EIB in the region, and provide the involved countries with the financial, operational and technical tools.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the conference, Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar stressed the cultural change in the relationships between public and private sectors resulting in pooling resources and sharing risks in a win-win relationship.
He stated that Morocco carried successful PPP projects namely in areas including energy, agriculture and port infrastructure. These assets, he argued, were made possible by the setting up in 2006 of Law No. 54-05 on outsourcing that provides a legal platform to help the development of PPP projects. "However, it is planed in the medium term to prepare a bill specific to PPP based on the experience acquired to take into account the specificities of PPP and the investors` expectations ," he said. He added that for the accumulation of this expertise, the MEF created a PPP Unit within the DEPP which task is the coordination of PPP projects and the development and dissemination of reference on this issue.
For Mr. Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the EIB, it is essential to consider two requirements of the Mediterranean countries namely the investment mobilization which is urgently needed in public infrastructure for people`s well-being and for the competitiveness of their economies on the one hand and the relevance in the choice and conduct of structural projects on the other.
This regional meeting focused especially on the main results of the regional study conducted by the EIB on the legal and financial framework of PPP in the Mediterranean partner countries through the analysis conducted on the potential of these countries in PPP and the suggested concrete and operational recommendations.
The meeting was organized around three sessions:
- Session 1: The experience of Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia in PPP structured integration through successful examples in this regard namely the case of Tangier Med port in Morocco.
- Session 2: The legal and institutional frameworks as the driving force of PPP success.
As to the Moroccan experience, Mr. Mohammed Samir Tazi, Director of Public Enterprises and Privatization focused on the Moroccan legal framework that enabled the country to gain diverse skills in outsourcing and PPP projects. Mr. Tazi gave details on the various actions undertaken by the DEPP for PPP development in Morocco namely the setting up of the PPP Unit, the identification of pilot projects in non-commercial sectors and enactment in the short term of a law specific to the PPP. Mr.Tazi clarified that this unit does not substitute for the ministries which will remain responsible for their projects nor the expertise of external advisors who will have the authority to manage PPP projects.
This unit will be responsible for the coordination of PPP projects, dissemination of best practices and strengthening of the visibility of such projects on the basis of a programme-based approach.
- Session 3: the various challenges of PPPs financing in terms of efficient allocation of financial risks, the use of the right payment processes adapted to the types of projects and the provision of adequate security and guarantees for investments in PPP.
This meeting`s outcomes were used to reach a consensus among participants regarding the needs of Mediterranean countries in innovative and additional funds, the high potential PPPs in these countries, the strengthening of expertise through sharing experiences and creating regional and national tools to successful major infrastructure projects.
After the meeting, a joint statement was issued, supporting the need for Mediterranean countries to improve their legal and financial frameworks and the commitment of the EIB and its partners to give technical and financial support to promote the PPP use and to accelerate the transfer of expertise and technology in this region on pilot projects base.
On the basis of the findings of the study on the PPP legal and financial framework in the Mediterranean partner countries, the EIB decided to launch an ambitious program of technical assistance in the Mediterranean region over the period 2011-2013. Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia were selected as pilot countries to benefit from this assistance. For this purpose, the European Union support will be a request at the meeting of European finance ministers, scheduled July 12th in Brussels.