KAMPALA — Former Kenyan prime minister and several-time presidential candidate Raila Odinga will tomorrow — Monday September 16 be in Kampala to attend the high level United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – Public Private Partnership (PPP) Conference at Kampala Serena Hotel.
Mr Odinga who was last year appointed the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, was expected to join President Museveni who was chief guest at the 3-day conference.
However, latest communication from the President’s press secretary Don Wanyama indicates that the President will delegate someone to attend.
Mr Odinga’s appointment was part of the AU’s expedition to integrate Africa through infrastructure.
His mandate includes mobilizing further political support from Member States and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and facilitating greater ownership by all concerned stakeholders,” he said in a statement.
In his new role Odinga works to support and strengthen AU’s departments and those of the Planning and Coordinating Agency of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Mr Odinga will deliver the keynote address on infrastructure development for Africa as a continent.
Odinga joins American strategist David Baxter, an International Development Practitioner and PPP Navigator – Infrastructure, Procurement and Resiliency Strategist.
Mr Baxter boasts of more than 25 years experience in international and domestic development and PPP institutional support.
As a recognized PPP procurement consultant and capacity building advisor who has supported PPP policy, infrastructure projects, and development initiatives in North America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
In 2010, the government adopted the Public-Private Partnership Framework Policy, aimed at stimulating efficient development of public infrastructure and an increase in economic growth and foreign direct investments.
According to Ms Beatrice Ikilai, the UNECE vice-chair, bureau of the working party on PPPs, there is a deep shortfall in national budgets and as such African governments should turn to PPPs as an alternative to bridge the financing gap.
During the pre-launch of the conference in August, State minister for finance, Gabriel Adjedra has appealed to African governments to embrace Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) as a new model for infrastructure financing and development.
He said there currently exists a conflict on African countries’ resource envelopes to spend on infrastructure needs and other demands.
According to statistics, Africa needs between between $130b (sh477trillion) to170Bn (sh623.9trillion) for infrastructure funding which cannot be fully met by conventional funding means.
“A time has come that we cannot depend on the traditional model of funding for infrastructure development as a country and as a continent. Therefore, it is high time we refocused our attention on PPPs to optimize the private sector’s potential,” Mr Ajedra said in August.
The conference is being organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the government of Uganda.