PPPHealth4All Persona – Ziad Alexandre Hayek, President, WAPPP

Welcome to the series of PPPHealth4All  interviews with prominent PPP experts around the world. And today we have a pleasure and privilege of speaking with the President of the World association of PPP Units and PPP professionals, dear friend and the highly respected colleague Ziad Alexandre Hayek. Welcome Ziad! I would like to invite you to say a couple of words about yourself.

Thank you very much for this warm welcome. My name is Ziad Hayek. I am an investment banker by background. I worked in investment banking for many years in New York and London, and then I came to Lebanon to work for several Prime Ministers.  I was Secretary General of the High Council for Privatization and PPP for the Lebanese Republic and worked with 4 Prime Ministers. I have resigned in March 2019, after running for the presidency of the World Bank, which I didn’t get. However, I have been very privileged to be part of a team that, in the meantime, has found the WAPPP and seen it grow.  It has been a fantastic experience for me, for everybody that has been involved with the WAPPP so far.

Could you please elaborate what is the World Association of PPP Units and PPP Professionals? This is a very fast growing organization, and what is your “secret sauce” that makes it so successful ?

I think it’s the collaborative spirit. The WAPPP is a non-profit association based in Geneva, Switzerland. We came together a group of experts and  you, Natalia, were there from the very beginning, and we form this Association. We are not looking for making profit , the WAPPP does not do business – so it doesn’t compete with any of its members. Therefore, it is truly the “secret sauce” is that we are to work together in a collaborative way. We’re helping each other. We’re helping build a network of PPP professionals all over the world. I always say “You get out of the WAPPP as much as you put into it “, because really it is a matter of engaging with the network which, at the end, helps everybody improve their career whether they are looking for a job in PPP projects, whether they are consultants looking for consulting work, whether it is a PPP unit looking for consultants or investors, whether investors looking for projects – could be financial, could be strategic investors.  

The WAPPP is a hub for everybody involved in to come together and to improve their career prospects, improve their ability to execute the projects and at the same time do good for the world, we have SDGs in our DNA because we are very obsessed in trying to make sure that the SDG.17
is implemented and is implemented in the right way to help people. We advocate for PPP not to be seen as a tool for procurement, but a tool for development.

Could you please mention how many chapters in the WAPPP at the moment?

The WAPPP has many chapters. The way we are organized is  following: we have a Steering Committee, that is a group of heads of the various chapters. We have regional chapters and that we have North America, Latin America Europe, Africa, CIS countries, South Asia/Asia Pacific. We have six regional chapters today. We have four sectorial chapters: chapters for health care, airports, ports and water. And we are hoping to grow that we’re looking for leaders that would join us to lead chapters, sectorial chapters in other sectors. We have some thematic chapters. The most active one, for example, are the thematic chapter for young PPP professionals. This is a chapter that brings together PPP professionals, who are of 35 years or younger and this effort in mentoring them in growing their technical abilities. Engaging with younger professionals is very important to us. We have another chapter, which is “Women in PPPs”. We have a chapter on “People-First PPPs” and this has to do with using the People-first PPPs principles,  as best practices involving sustainability, involving ESG, involving the other measures of good governance and good practices.

Since PPPHealth4All is a platform that facilitates healthcare PPPs, could you please say how the WAPPP is engaged in healthcare PPPs and about its healthcare chapter.

Well, if we are looking at PPP as a tool for development.  It means starting to move away from regarding PPP only as a way to finance heavy infrastructure and looking to PPP to finance soft infrastructure in education in health care in improving people’s lives. And so the concept of having a chapter for healthcare within WAPPP is very essential. It is at the very center of WAPPP’s interests and activities. and in this chapter we are we have been very lucky to partner with PPPHealth4All and we will talk more about this later on. This collaboration has already given fruits to a number of webinars that have been conducted for the for various chapters of the WAPPP, including a webinar coming up March 10th  focused on health care and being organized by our Asia Pacific Chapter and Health Chapter  in collaboration with the UNESCAP. 

We are very proud to have forage this relationship with the UNESCAP and we are looking forward to grow it.  And, of course, we already have had the history of working with the UNECE. We have other strategic partners in the WAPPP,  who have helped us develop our organization. They have helped with providing many benefits to our members. I cite, for example, a partnership with APMG for the CP3P programme, which is very important PPP certification for all professionals in this field.

I just want to re-iterate your message about forthcoming seminar on 10th of Mach 2021, which is a very impressive  in terms of line-up of speakers from the Asian Development Bank,  from PPP Center of the Philippines. We have very interesting speakers coming from the private sector as well. It is also a very good example of cooperation between the WAPPP Chapters:  regional chapter of Asia and Health chapter, which I happened to be chairing. So I am wearing two hats today.

We are very lucky to have you Natalia in that role. Absolutely. Thank you so much.

You mentioned the UNECE and actually we met in Geneva under the umbrella of UNECE meetings, but we become friends in China when attending the Third Forum on Public Private Partnerships.  What is the role of international financial organizations and international organizations in general in promoting public-private partnerships?

The international organizations have, I think, a crucial role because PPP is very prone to being mismanaged. It is a very delicate type of type of structure that involves public sector institutions private sector companies. It involves financing banks, sometimes international financial institutions. And bringing all these entities together and making sure that they all perform in the right way for any specific project is really requires having a lot of expertise. So, the aspect of sharing information, sharing experience, creating awareness are all roles that international organizations are very well positioned to play and the WAPPP, I would should say, is one such organization and it goes beyond that.  Because fighting corruption in the tendering of PPP projects and in their management providing forums for exchanging and not only information about best practices, but also sharing how being finding ways to influence, decision making so let me give an example politicians typically all over the world want their PPP projects to be done very quickly and they don’t want to go through the whole process of project design and best practices making projects qualify for ESG financing or taking the time to consult with all stakeholders, taking the time to study the environmental and social impacts and all of that. They typically don’t want to you know deal with lengthy procedures that are usually found in PPP laws, so they don’t want to apply laws or enact them.

I have had an experience for example in Lebanon where I was lobbying for the PPP law for 10 years which was very difficult, because government after government did not want to pass it. And then I was fortunate that we had the opportunity of having Lawrence Carter who was at the IFC at the time and Clive Harris who was also involved there, and they were visiting Lebanon.  I organized a meeting with our parliamentarians and that was very important in getting  them to change their opinion and vote to enact the law. They saw  and they understood that this is an international best practice and this is not something that the local PPP Unit was trying to do in order to gain some advantage.

This is what we do together with some colleagues of mine today, this is what I like doing the most and what we do the most.  It’s not about PPP training for PPP professionals or people in PPP Units, as much as it is advocacy work with parliamentarians with Ministers and governments. We are usually asked by the PPP Units to come and help to educate the political decision makers on proper PPP policy and proper PPP approaches which is really crucial for the success of the PPP Units and their projects and their pipeline.

I think from what you just said we could conclude that PPP advocacy is also an integral part of the process and is a very important part. And you, probably,  is be one of the best experts in this field.

Where do you see the synergies between the WAPPP and PPPHealth4All, as we have just signed a Memorandum of Cooperation?

PPPHealt4All is a hub for expertise, it is a hub for knowledge in the healthcare sector, especially in relation to PPPs.  We need people with a lot of experience, so they can help then PPP Units and help governments with best practices in healthcare PPPs. So that’s what the PPPHealt4All l provides. PPPHealth4All is a knowledge partner. The WAPPP is a network partner and provides the ability to take that to the global level to engage. Players in involving PPP public and private all over the world and attract them to PPPHealt4All. So, it’s a fantastic relationship where both parties benefit.

Absolutely. I think it’s all about collaborative approach – the more we do together the bigger is “domino effect” and we’re also could learn from each other. We have different chapters in the WAPPP and there are also good lessons learned also not only regionally-wise, but also sector wise and as it is a great learning to know what is happening in the other sectors as well. PPPHealt4All is a knowledge partner for the WAPPP and the WAPP is our network partner.

My sincere congratulations on the WAPPP’s success. How many PPP Units have joined recently?

Oh, we had eight Units in the past two weeks.

That’s impressive. Thank you so much for this wonderful interview and for being with after day. This is very much appreciated.

And as I had of health chapter in the World Association of PPPP Unions and PPP professionals and the Founder of PPPHealth4All, I see a lot of potential for collaboration and am happy it’s already happening. But there is so much yet to be done to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 20030 and Universal Health Coverage. It’s so unfair that we are leaving in 201st century and still millions of people have no access to the healthcare. Public private partnerships could be very instrumental to close infrastructure gap to bring innovations and financing.  So let’s make a difference together. Thank you again and till next time.

Interview by Natalia Korchakova-Heeb

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