Building Game-Changing Infrastructure: CMU Supporting Argentinian Government’s PPP Program

Posted 19th December 2017

Carnegie Mellon University Australia delivered an executive program on 11-13 December 2017 to the Argentinian Government’s elite Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Unit. The new Unit has been created within the Finance Ministry to spearhead the Government’s US$30 billion PPP program.  

The executive program – Managing Effective Public Private Partnerships – was purpose-designed for the Unit to focus on the significant challenges of translating PPP theory into outcomes over a compressed timetable. Considerable emphasis was given to Australia’s world leading experience, including some of the pitfalls the country has encountered along the way.

Professors Emil Bolongaita and Tim O’Loughlin with Argentina’s Minister of Finance Luis Caputo (second from left) and Undersecretary of Finance for Public Private Partnerships Jose Morea (first from right)

José Luis Morea, the Undersecretary of Public-Private Partnerships, said “the Government of Argentina has committed to unprecedented and ambitious targets for delivering infrastructure using PPP’s. The executive program was invaluable in allowing us to learn from the experiences of others, particularly Australia. The discussion over three days was frank, practical and analytical, dealing with both the successes and failures in ways that allow us to draw lessons that can and will be applied to our context.” 

The Program Director, Tim O’Loughlin, CMU-A Professor of the Practice in Public Policy, said “it was a great honour to be able to deliver such a program to a small group of able and committed professionals drawn into serving their government from a wide range of industries. They challenged much of the orthodox theory and rapidly took on the learnings from the experiences of others.”

Professors Emil Bolongaita and Tim O’Loughlin with some of the members of Argentina’s PPP Unit

The program covered a wide range of areas including methods for assessing public interest and value for money; contemporary trends in PPP governance and management; evaluation of projects before and after; and common elements of PPP failures. A particular highlight were sessions on governance and anti-corruption delivered by CMU Distinguished Service Professor, Emil Bolongaita, a high-profile expert internationally in anti-corruption interventions.

Prof Bolongaita gave an overview of PPP experiences in Asia and Latin America and how Argentina could enhance its investment attractiveness and mitigate governance risks in the delivery and operations of PPPs. He said that “Argentina has made tremendous progress under President Macri’s leadership to restore credibility in international markets and the government is rightly focused on reforms to strengthen governance institutions vital to the success of the PPP program.”  

Both parties are now exploring a long-term collaboration involving both education and research.