BDP has launched an outreach program to encourage Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), promoting cooperation between these two sectors within the water management field. On 31 August, BDP held a workshop to engage private business owners by presenting the results of an extensive research project covering private sector ambitions in the water sector.
This workshop has been a long time coming. Over the past half-year BDP associates undertook an research process of interviewing private sector leaders regarding their hopes and hesitations about investing further into the water sector.
Through outreach efforts, BDP is striving to trigger new market initiatives and investments. A historically public sector-dominated field, the water sector holds much room for a new influx of knowledge, approaches and funding.
Large private sector groups such as AK Khan Water Health, Abdul Monem Group, PRAN Group among others, not just validated the findings of our survey and assessments so far, but also expressed their interest to work towards further engagement in planning and implementation of large scale water programs in Bangladesh.
Tahmina Shafique, Private Sector Development Specialist introduced the key water market segments, and provided an overview on the key findings of the one-on-one consultations and survey that she and her team carried out over the last six months.
Shafique further provided an analysis of PPP concept in Bangladesh and juxtaposed it against the Netherlands PPP framework to showcase best practices and lessons.
Since the drafting of the 1999 Bangladesh National Water Policy, the vision of the water sector has requested the private sector’s input, but there has been no clear plan on how to define and enhance its role – BDP is working to change that.
The upcoming report of this research mission has identified the areas in which private sector partners are currently working and in which sectors they would ideally invest.
Recognizing the operational difficulties entrepreneurs face working in Bangladesh, the interviews also diagnosed the key obstacles potential investors fear regarding investment into the public sector.
During the workshops, BDP set the stage for addressing these concerns by creating an open forum where private sector entities could voice both their concerns and their proposed solutions; essentially, building a dialogue from the investors themselves on how to construct a prosperous field for investing in the water sector.
Mapping public perspectives is another integral process in making the landscape for fruitful private sector partnerships. This research shows that there is a clear lack of knowledge regarding the existence and potential of PPP’s – evidencing the need for the bridging of these sectors through BDP’s work.
The final Private Sector Report being authored by Shafique and other team members includes: an overview of private sector engagement in key water market segments, analysis of key findings from the survey, lesson learned and best practices from the Netherlands, and recommendations for private sector engagement.
A prime window of opportunity currently exists, with 53% of PPP’s in Bangladesh still in their “project development stage,” as stated by the report data. With this open frontier ahead, BDP is hoping to redirect investment into the water sector by reforming the private sector’s view from one of hesitation to enthusiastic, educated investment.
See the presentation of the research data here.
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