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Public Private Partnership for Economic Development

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop found common ground with Philippine  PresidentBenigno Aquino III on the issue of Private Public Partnership initiative as a way  to community development. 

It should be recalled that one of the reform policies announced by President Aquino shortly after taking office was Public Private Partnership. He envisions  major development areas not mainly the responsibility of government, but in partnership with private business. 

In her speech at the Australian National University before the Australasian Aid and International Development Forum, Foreign Minister Bishop said,” The private sector is already involved in development assistance an I want the Australian Government to work more effectively with the private sector, recognizingthat private enterprise is the engine of growth.”   

“So we are going to explore innovative models for private sector partnership for development, moving away from the old way of doing things” Minister Bishop said. 

“This is what I mean by  “economic diplomacy” which I’ve placed at the heart of Australia’s interaction with the world. For Australian companies there will be opportunities to design and build bridges and railways and schools and ports – that is significant economic opportunity, but we encourage them of course to partner with local companies. It has been estimated that $8 trillion worth of infrastructure is eed by APEC region along by 2020.,” she said.

Minister Bishop said, “Our aid  program needs to respondto a radically changing international environment. Over billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty over the last 20 years.

There are a number of key countries in our region – including Indonesia, and Sri Lanka and Vietnam – that are experiencing strong economic growth with ODA (nations) now representing a tiny fraction of their GDP. But over the yers ahead our aid dollar will continue to shrink relative to domestic budgets in our partner countries in Asia, and that is how it should be. 

“We should be seeking to do ourselves  job! At the same time, many of our neighbours in the  Pacific do remain fragile. There has been stagnated growth and very unclear long term prospect.” 

“Some countries who used to receive aids are now becoming donors. Many traditional Western donors are scaling back and new donors are emerging, so the donor aspect has shifted,” she said. 

Minister Bishop said, “These  are facts that we cannot ignore, but are also the driving factors behind its new paradigm. Australia has to be more strategic to be more effect.” 

As for the Philippines, it has been heralded that Public Private Partnership is an alternative to the perennial problems of delay, misdirection and even graft and corruption in pursuing purely government funded and government initiated projects. 

This rings a bell in the Philippines especially now with ongoing investigations and controversies in Manila  about improper use of public fund where high profile Philippine senators are slowly being proven as having direct hand in the misuse of resources.   

Is Public Private Partnership the better alternative to the way things are happening? Time will tell