Public Policy Forum 2018 “Future of Public Private Partnerships”


Interview with Dr. Racquel Warner, Assistant Professor/Acting Director of Academic affairs, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government

By Shereen Shabnam

The Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), the first research and teaching institution focusing on governance and public policy in the Arab world, announced plans to organize the second edition MBRSG Public Policy Forum bearing the theme “Shaping the Future of Public Private Partnership’.  The Future of that will take place on January 15-16, 2018.

The Forum will bring together influential decision makers in the UAE – including investors, entrepreneurs, senior academics and researchers – from such diverse sectors as healthcare, education, transportation, ICT and sustainable development.

We ask Dr. Racquel Warner, Acting Director of Academic Affairs more about the event.

  1. Brief of Public Policy Forum PPF 2018

The UAE Public Policy Forum, taking place on January 15th and 16th 2018i s organized by the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government and aims to evaluate and discuss the potential of public private partnerships in the aforementioned areas to help private and public sectors stakeholders to evaluate ongoing PPPs in the UAE, exchange ideas and experiences of best practice in PPPs and establish networks for future PPP policy development.

The two-day forum will focus on a range of key topics, including and not limited to: Public Private partnership in Education, Global Standards of excellence, Effectiveness of education reforms, Paradigm shift in UAE education, Innovation and technology, Capacity Building through Education

The UAE Public Policy Forum on Shaping the Future of Public Private Partnerships is a unique opportunity to hear from experts, policy makers, investors researchers and other stakeholders as they share their expertise about strategies, technology, policy implications and process associated with public private partnerships locally and globally.

2.Objectives of PPF who does it target?

The plenaries, seminars, academic presentations, exhibits and knowledge hubs at the forum will be structured around six pillars:

  • Defining, designing and evaluating PPPs.
  • Enabling environments for PPPs
  • Strategic Planning for PPPs.
  • Accountability and performance of PPPs (case studies, alternative models)
  • Technology and innovation in PPPs .
  • Policy development for PPPs in the future.

The UAE Public Policy Forum targets for key decision makers, professionals, experts, service providers and public leaders

  1. How is the response of private sector towards building partnership with public sector?

From the academic literature and the media reports  the uptake for PPPs in Dubai has been very positive and a number of projects with the RTA, Dubai Airports and DEWA have been completed using such partnerships. Additionally, the successful diversification away from oil was driven primarily by PPPs in numerous sectors such as tourism, finance, commerce  and health .Most large cap companies like Besix and Carillon are able to capitalize on infrastructure projects but also the PPP space has opened up in areas of, technology, innovation, research and development, management and capacity building to upskill the work force of the future. In the major Smart overhaul of the government services SAP , IBM and other private tech  giants are major players in the attainment of the Smart Dubai goals as they continue to advise and offer technical support for many Smart Dubai projects. The challenge still remains in getting SME to have a slice of the PPP pie because many of the projects require large capital base which many SMEs find difficult to access.

4. How do you see the future of partnerships and corporation between private and public sectors

With the Dubai PPP legislation in place I think the PPP landscape is more transparent and there are checks and balances built in to ensure that the government and its partners deliver on the public service to the end users. As Dubai embraced AI this is also opening up massive opportunities for Big data PPPs. At present the capacity to train the workforce that will operate in this sector is primarily resident among the private sector internationally, so this is a growth area for more PPPs. The age of outsourcing that we currently live in will also open up opportunities for joint ventures between SMEs and larger companies to deliver on PPP contracts in the future. The encouragement through the Dubai accelerator program also bodes well for the future of PPPs that optimize innovation and service delivery.

5. What will be the next step to enhance the partnership and what is the role of MBRS in enhancing this kind of partnerships in Dubai and regionally

While there is a PPP law in Dubai, there might still be some concerns about the risk of conducting business In the GCC given the geopolitical atmosphere and the business laws . Further knowledge transfer about how to capitalize on PPPs without increasing the cost of the contract and ultimately cost to the end user is required. This will require a win- win approach to negotiation that build long term trust and sustainability  in the business relationship between the government and its private partners. In practical terms this might mean reviewing payment cycles and reducing contract negotiation periods.


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