World Bank to offer free online course on PPPs

By Jeff Tyson 04 May 2015

A man learns how to use a computer in China. The World Bank is offering a free online course on public-private partnerships. Photo by: Li Wenyong / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

Development professionals and governments worldwide increasingly rely on public-private partnerships to fill critical infrastructure gaps. But implementing successful and efficient PPPs requires buy-in from multiple stakeholders — the public sector, the private sector, and beneficiaries — all of whom need to have a sufficient understanding of how a PPP functions.

But PPPs are complex and often not well understood, which can be detrimental to their success, and to infrastructure projects in developing countries.

In an effort to build awareness surrounding PPPs, the World Bank has announced it is offering a free, four week massive open online course on public-private partnerships. The course is designed for development practitioners, policymakers and the general public.

“It’s a topic that has been very important for our client countries,” Fernanda Ruiz Nuñez, senior infrastructure economist at the World Bank and one of the course’s instructors told Devex.

“Reaching all the stakeholders is extremely important to us,” Nuñez added.

PPPs are now applied in more than 134 developing countries and contribute to 15-20 percent of total infrastructure investments according to a World Bank spokesperson. But for Nuñez and others in the public-private partnerships group at the World Bank, there is room to grow.

“We have provided many trainings that are more technical and specific for people that are actually doing PPPs, but we wanted to reach a much broader audience, and we thought this platform is the best way,” Nuñez said.

The free online course — part of the World Bank’s mandate to become more of a knowledge sharing institution — will run from June 1 to 27. It will include two tracks participants can choose from: PPP awareness, and policy and practice. It will be taught in English and will require an Internet connection. Instructors from some of the world’s leading universities as well as multilateral institutions will be featured.

Nuñez said her team hopes to reach between 10,000 and 30,000 participants online and to later present the material on an alternative platform for those without access to the Internet.

What do you think about the World Bank’s new PPP MOOC? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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About the author

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Jeff Tyson@jtyson21

Jeff is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Washington, DC, he covers multilateral affairs, U.S. aid and international development trends. He has worked with human rights organizations in both Senegal and the United States, and prior to joining Devex worked as a production assistant at National Public Radio. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Rochester.


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