Preparation is vital for the delivery of successful infrastructure projects. However, in Africa many great ideas for infrastructure projects do not get off the ground due to inadequate funding and planning during the project preparation phase and a lack of knowledge of existing project preparation facilities and services that can help.
Project preparation spans from the inception of a project concept through project feasibility to support for the transaction and execution. Particularly important in the process is bringing to the market projects that will attract and secure investors.
Given the ICA’s role of encouraging and promoting increased investment in infrastructure in Africa, it has undertaken a number of initiatives to support improved project preparation.
The ICA’s Project Preparation Fund Finder provides a searchable, online database with important information on project preparation facilities, funding and services. It is designed to help project promoters locate funding for project preparation, while also providing a unique location for funding facilities and service providers to market their products, along with key project preparation statistics and information. The Fund Finder provides improved access to available funding information, enhancing effective cooperation of funding organisations around each project.
The ICA has established the Project Preparation Facilities Network, or PPFN - a 'network' of funding facilities who have agreed to function as an alliance of funding facilities dedicated to sustainable infrastructure in Africa. Members of the PPFN advocate for more financial resources for infrastructure project preparation and are committed to work together through the exchange and sharing of data, project pipeline information, case studies and best practice. The PPFN also aims to increase co-financing opportunities for its members using the ‘Tunnel of Funds’ approach. This refers to the possibility of different PPFs financing different phases of the project preparation cycle.
In 2015, the ICA commissioned a study analysing the work and impact of African Infrastructure Project Preparation Facilities (PPFs), focussing on lessons learned and best practice. The study - Assessment of African Infrastructure Project Preparation Facilities - lessons learned and best practice - assesses 19 PPFs currently focusing on project preparation in African countries and makes a number of recommendations primarily around issues such as the strengthening of the corporate governance of PPFs, enhancing their effectiveness, information sharing, developing sustainable funding models and adopting best practice.
This study followed-up a paper commissioned by the ICA in 2014 looking at Effective Project Preparation for Africa's Infrastructure Development. The objective of the paper was to raise both demand and supply side issues hindering the development of a strong pipeline of well-prepared, bankable projects, widely recognised as one of the key constraints to infrastructure development in Africa.