The opening ceremony launching the International Specialist Centre of Excellence on PPP, “Policies, Laws and Institutions,” under the aegis of the United Nations, was held on May 21st 2015 in the premises of the French Federation of Construction (FNTP).
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Geoffrey Hamilton, Chief of the PPP Programme at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Roger Fiszelson, Director General of CICA (Confedeartion of International Contractors’Associations) and David Gordon-Krief, President of IFEJI (French Institute of International Legal Experts), key contributors to the project.
A first roundtable brought together the actors of public services infrastructure construction and financing (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Vinci, Alstom and Setec International). The promoters of the Centre then presented the organization and objectives of the Centre in a second roundtable (see event program). The Centre aims at developing a new approach on PPP projects that should be global, ordinated and coordinated. To do so, Knowledge Centres and Training Centres will be set up. The team working on the projects should be composed of multidisciplinary and fully independent experts.
Michel Barnier, former French Minister and European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services and currently State Councilor and Supervisor of the PPP practices Community in the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development (World Bank) also spoke at the conference to express his full support to this international Centre of Excellence.
Lionel Zinsou, President of the Franco-African Foundation for Growth and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the private equity fund PAI Partners, has also welcomed the initiative during his closing remarks.
This International Centre of Excellence has received the full support from the French Government as well as from the French Employers’ association, MEDEF. It also received a strong international support as the regional hubs are already foreseen in Burkina Faso for West Africa and also in Brazil, as the Brazilian authorities received positively this initiative earlier in May.
The launching event, co-organized by MEDEF, CICA and IFEJI, brought together the various stakeholders of the project. More than 130 people attended the event, including representatives of international organizations (OECD, UNECE), the French administration (MAEDI, DG Treasury MEDDE, Ministry of Defence), the entrepreneurial sectors (between other VINCI, ALSTOM, COLAS, VEOLIA, EGF-BTP, representatives of the African construction Employers), representatives of the legal world (lawyers, consulting, African Presidents of the Bar) and of the banking sector (African Development Bank, Société Générale, French Banking Federation). The African Bank of Development already gave its interest in principle to use the services of the Centre for the training of its staff.