Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Latin America's Infrastructure Market and Policy Suggestions for Korea

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July 2017
Paper author(s): 
Ki-Su Kwon
Jin-O Kim
Misook Park
Siun Yi
Infraestructure - Transport - Water

In Latin America, the investment in infrastructure has been led by governments. However, the importance of PPP is growing, as fiscal revenues are decreasing in many countries due to the fall of commodity prices. Private investment in infrastructure in Latin America is outpacing other emerging economies. Latin America accounts for about 43% of the total private investment in infrastructure among developing economies. PPP is especially active in Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru. Among foreign firms, Spanish companies have the strongest presence in the PPP market of Latin America. Yet the competitive landscape is changing; while Spanish and European firms are losing their market share, Chinese and American enterprises are broadening their presence. Traditionally, investment in infrastructure has been concentrated in the ICT and electricity sectors but investment is being diversified into other sectors such as airports, railway, road, water and sanitation. Latin America has a less favorable PPP environment compared to other regions such as Asia. However, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Colombia show promising conditions for PPP and hold a high rank among all developing countries. This is because these five countries have clear laws and institutions regarding PPP, and abundant experience with PPP projects. This study focuses on Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia and finds some similarities among these nations: 1) they have exclusive organizations for PPP, 2) projects with private initiatives are encouraged, 3) risks are transferred more to private sectors and subsidies from government are decreasing, 4) and there are growing projects in social infrastructure. We select some subsectors of infrastructure which have high demand for PPP projects. We also study several cases of foreign investment in each subsector: electricity in Mexico, transportation in Peru, health and medical treatment in Chile, and water and sanitation in Colombia. Latin America has several regional MDBs, such as the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) and Development Bank of Latin America (CAF). These banks play a crucial role for PPP projects. We offer four suggestions for firms: 1) firms need to understand the change in the infrastructure market toward more projects being planned in a PPP scheme rather than solely financed by the government, 2) the development level of the PPP environment differs by country, and thus firms need to prepare a customized strategy by country, 3) strategic alliance with local or foreign companies is crucial since they understand the local market well, 4) collaboration with regional MDBs, such as the IDB, CAF and CABEI, is recommended. This study also suggests the following policy recommendations for the Korean government: 1) The government can establish a government-business council and support Korean firms to win PPP contracts; 2) Incentives need to be provided to promote joint overseas business between conglomerate and small and medium-sized firms (SMEs); 3) ODA projects can be planned to identify infrastructure development demand in Latin America, and then the projects can be developed into PPP projects later, or feasibility studies for privately initiated PPP projects can be financed by ODA funds; 4) A formal cooperation system can be built between the Korean government and MDBs to facilitate Korean firms' access to MDBs; 5) Exchange of personnel from PPP-related institutions from Korea and Latin America can support Korean firms to acquire information and win projects.


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