In June 2020, the Public Private Partnership Unit in the Office of the Vice President received funding from the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone to conduct a series of Training and Sensitisation Workshops in the Western Area Rural District Council (WARD-C).
Six workshops were slated to be conducted in WARD-C, each lasting 3 days, starting Thursday July 2nd and ending Tuesday July 21st.
The workshops were conducted by staff of the Public Private Partnership Unit (PPPU).
The overall objective of the series of workshops was to train and sensitize the district council officials and stakeholders of six market communities in WARD-C on how to understand and harness Public Private Community Partnerships for the infrastructure development of their district. The workshop was also supposed to be a medium for sensitization and raising public awareness on the existence, mandate, scope, processes and functions of the PPP Unit.
Specifically, the training workshop and awareness raising programs aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- Increase the knowledge and awareness of participants on PPP fundamental concepts;
- Encourage WARD-C Officials to be compliant with the PPP Act 2014 by seeking the support of the Unit in facilitating PPP/PPCP transactions where a private sector entity is to perform the official mandate of the Local council.
- Present a strong case to attract buy-in on the part of the WARD council to see PPPs as an opportunity to help them achieve their goals and willingly commit to the process;
The above objectives were achieved through lectures/presentations, practical case study scenarios in other countries, group work and discussions sessions. In addition, the PPP Unit provided the participants with materials in the form of handouts and other documentations containing detailed information about PPPs. Finally, the Unit engaged community radios in the district and the print media from Freetown to disseminate information about proceedings in the workshops.
The workshop targeted a total of 150 participants from six communities in WARD-C. Due to COVID-19 protocols, invitations were limited to only 25 participants in each of the six market communities where the workshops were conducted in the following order:
- Tombo Market Community
- 5-5-5 Market Community in the Waterloo area
- Market Square Community in the Waterloo area
- Jui/Kossoh Town Market Community
- Grafton Market Community and
- Goderich/Funkia Market Community
Structure of Workshops: Presentation Topics and Group Work
Each of the workshops commenced with the usual opening courtesies. Key topics covered during the series of workshops were as follows:
Presentation 1 – PPP Concepts, Principles and Models (Presented by: PPP U Programme Manager – Dr. Patrick Ajuno Sesay)
Presentation 2– Public Market and the Benefits of Private Sector Engagement in Public Markets Development and Management(Presented by: PPP Unit Financial Adviser, Abu Bakar Sesay)
Presentation 3 –The PPP Market Process and Models (Presented by: PPP Unit Financial Adviser, Abu Bakar Sesay)
Presentation 4 – PPP Public Market development, implementation & monitoring (Presented by: PPP Unit Financial Adviser, Abu Bakar Sesay)
Presentation 5 – The Way Forward for PPPs & Public Markets in Sierra Leone (Presented by: Programme Manager PPP Unit, Dr. Patrick Ajuno Sesay)
Case studies were done showcasing how old markets with basic and inadequate facilities in the Philippines were upgraded to modern markets with attendant facilities and amenities. Photos of these markets were projected for participants to appreciate how collective action on the part of the marketers and engagement with the private sector made all the difference.
As a way of ensuring the full participation of all the participants and assess the level at which they grasped the concepts presented, Group Work was done during which time the participants were divided into three groups. Each group member was to reflect on all that they had learnt about PPPs, discuss in their groups and provide answers to two questions namely:
- If a private sector approaches the executive of your Market Community today, what type of market would you want? List all the facilities that you would like to see in that market?
- List down the bye-laws you would put in place to ensure that the Private Investor recovers his/her investment. This should include but should not be limited to fees and other charges that users should be paying for the use of the facilities.
The participants were very animated as they went about the group discussions and some shining stars emerged while they presented for their respective groups in plenary.
Official Launch of the Series of Workshops
The series of workshops was officially launched on Friday 10th July 2020 at the Western Rural District Council conference room in Waterloo. After opening prayers, welcome address was delivered by the Chairman of the Petty Traders Union in the Waterloo area. The Director of the PPP Unit Mr. Abu Kamara outlined the economic outlook of the country and the infrastructure gaps indicated in the Medium Term National Development Plan. He then did a presentation that touched on the background of the PPP unit and its development, the PPP regulatory framework for competition and the legal framework that guides the preparation, selection and management of PPP projects.
In closing, he highlighted selected ongoing PPP projects, in particular, the following:
- Wellington-Masiaka Toll Road Project that has now eased the flow of traffic in and out of the city.
- Karpowership arrangement that ensures sustained supply of electricity in the city.
- Concession of Container terminal and Berth Extension at the ports by Bollore Transport Logistics which has now increased the efficiency of the handling of both containerized and non-containerized cargo
On his part, the Chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council, Mr. Kasho Holland-Cole expressed his gratitude for the series of workshops that would benefit his district. He noted that Sierra Leone and Africa could only progress when PPPs are embraced and harnessed. He said the potential opportunity that Public Private Community Partnerships holds for his district will be tabled in a council meeting that was to hold that same day.
The Assistant to the Secretary to the Vice-President who represented the Office of the Vice President Mr. Swaliu K.M. Jusu brought greetings from the Honourable Vice President and urged participants to take the training very seriously. He affirmed that the district, by virtue of its location and geography had a lot of potential for PPCPs and that the council officials will do well to capitalize on them.
The Team Lead for Economic Development at the United Nations Development Programme, Madam Tanzila Watta Sankoh, who deputized the Country Director thanked the PPP Unit for organizing the series of workshops which she hoped will sensitize stakeholders in the six market communities to engage private investors to Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) infrastructure projects in their locales. She iterated that the UNDP supports PPPs because they have done well in other countries. She committed their continued support to the PPP unit with training and capacity building all in pursuit of the sustainable development goals.
On that note, she officially launched the series of sensitization workshops promoting Public Private Community Partnerships using the DBFOT approach.
Feedback from the Workshop
The series of workshops were as timely as they were highly appreciated by the stakeholders in all six market communities. During question and answer time, group work and presentations during plenary it was clear that the content of the workshops resonated with their felt needs.
In Tombo, the Village Headman had this to say at the end of their workshop “We now fully understand what PPPs àre about, what bothers me is, how come the powers that be have not been harnessing PPPs to develop our communities?
In the 5-5-5 Market and Lorry Park , the Lumpa 5-5-5 Headman had this to say “Since the inception of the Western Area Rural District Council, this is the first time the 5-5-5 market stakeholders and the council staff have been brought together to brainstorm how to harness the power of the private sector. Thank you PPP”.
In Waterloo the Chairman of the District Council confessed that “We had been yearning for a solution to the dearth of infrastructure development in our communities but we were oblivious of PPCPs and the potential it holds”
In the Jui/Kossoh Town Market community, the Councillor noted that “This workshop could not be timelier as it comes at a time when the District Council has identified an existing market that is to be upgraded into a multi-storey structure.” The session on risk sharing was particularly helpful”
In Gratfon “This is the first time that central government has engaged with us since the end of the war. I appeal for more capacity building for us to benefit from PPCPs as ours is a neglected community with many social constraints” Grafton/Kossoh Town Councillor.