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In UAE, PPPs have been deployed for infrastructure ventures. They are now taking on job creation aspects too. Image Credit: Shuttertstock

The last two years have offered great learnings in how we do business, lead our lives and approach problems. While the IT & telecommunication sectors kept us connected, a concerted effort to build and strengthen public-private partnerships by realizing its transformative impact also came as a good change.

This time the emphasis was not driven by corporates alone, but also by governments to shape digital stories and take the economic growth agenda to more remarkable strides. This reminds me of the quote by Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) have proven to be an effective tool to take countries to more incredible economic prowess. These collaborations have successfully gained access to finance, technology, talent and skillsets, and adequate regulatory compliance approvals. For the private sector, it has offered numerous investment opportunities and a platform to support the government in nation-building.

As a result, public-private partnerships have taken an exciting facet globally. Today, governments collaborate with the private sector to drive their agenda of growth and reform. And private players with their technical expertise have become active partners in economic transformation.

Revitalised India’s retail

A success story demonstrating the success of PPP is from the fast-shaping Indian economy. India changed its monetary policy substantially a few years ago and drew widespread criticism. However, that roll-out had a tremendous impact on the country’s large unorganized retail sector.

Digital payments became the norm and transformed a multitude of small businesses to become highly organized. The inspirational story doesn’t end here. India has already started taking the next giant leap forward by making the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) available to other countries. This is a significant move as UPI has transgressed the economic barriers and has empowered citizens in India.

Gaining ground in GCC

The good news is that the GCC governments are already supporting Public Private Partnerships. The government’s vision document clearly states that the PPP model would serve the UAE’s goals and agenda in implementing a sustainable, competitive economy based on knowledge, expertise, and diversity. Recently, Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, was quoted saying, “The road to 2071 calls for full collaboration among public, semi-private and private sectors, under an integrated system, and a series of strategic projects are being rolled out under the action plan to bolster the country's key and emerging sectors.”

A LinkedIn alliance

In response to the changing times, the Government Development and the Future Office of the UAE introduced ‘Future Partnerships’ in June 2021. This program brings together prominent private sector firms and the government to actively shape UAE's future. The first initiative of the new entity has the government joining hands with LinkedIn to launch the future skills for women programme.

It aims to equip 2,000 young Emirati women with the skills for future jobs, to actively participate in designing and shaping the future and increase their contribution to the UAE economy.

Saudi Arabia has also decided to leverage private enterprise to deliver its vision. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Chairman of the Economic and Development Affairs, in the Vision 2030 document, stated: “We intend to provide better opportunities for partnerships with the private sector through the three pillars: our position as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds; our leading investment capabilities; and our strategic geographical position.”

The pace at which Public Private Partnerships are being embraced indicates that we should expect to see dynamic global case studies from the region for the world to imbibe. Through open collaboration and shared success, we can build and transform the ICT landscape of the GCC region, which will have far-reaching impacts on economic competitiveness, employment creation and sustainable development.

It’s time for us to take the driver’s seat and contribute to this inspiring success story waiting to unfold…