Report: PPPLab workshop at Africa Works

The PPPLab facilitated a workshop titled ‘Ever worked in a PPPLab?’ at the conference Africa Works last Thursday 16 October 2014 in Leiden. Workshop participants from NGOs, businesses and knowledge institutes shared their insights on working in PPPs and came up with recommendations for the PPPLab to work on in the coming four years. Below you will find a short overview of the main points of discussion.

Innovation – Business as usual?
Participants found it important for the PPPLab to look at both social and technical innovation processes. Social innovation processes can include new delivery models, how local markets are served and empowerment of local SMEs, producers and consumers. When looking at technical innovation the focus should be on how to ensure local embeddedness, local value addition and adequate use of local knowledge.

Public – Private
The shifting roles between private and public actors in the value chain were also mentioned as interesting topics to study. How solid and well-intended is the increased reach of private actors in the value chain to secure their resources? What does that mean for public responsibilities?

Business models
How do you ensure a return on investment in PPPs? How do you combining the economic, social, natural and inspirational aspects in practice ?

Other questions to research further include:

  • How do you bring the two triangles of public, private and NGO/knowledge institutes in the Netherlands and the local context together?
  • Can the PPPLab provide create concrete guidelines for PPPs? Is it different for different sectors? Are there lessons learnt for future PPPs?

Building Partnerships
When starting a partnership it is important to take the time to get to know each other. This will make the partnership work better. For the viability of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) it is important to look at the different motives and interests of the different parties and how to align these. Another issue the PPPLab will look into is the added value of a PPP: is 1+1=3 always a given?

Life after PPPs
To ensure that a PPP has a meaningful impact after the (Dutch) public support stops, local involvement is of critical importance. When the international PPP ends a sound local one should be able to continue. Finally the question was asked when PPPs are appropriate and when they are not. Collaboration with Dutch partners should not be enforced, but should answer to local demands.

During the workshop the PPPLab presented its first two publications of the Insight Series to Christiaan Rebergen, Director General for International Cooperation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To conclude the workshop, Her Excellency the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Rwanda, Leoni Cuelenaere, shared with us that she is pleased the concept of Theories-of-Change (ToC) is used as it is important to distil the essential strategies underneath successful cases. The PPPLab looks forward to working on these topics in the coming years and continuing to share our experiences on what works well.

For more reports on the Africa Works Conference visit the NABC website or read this report from the Africa Study Centre.