In Episode #8, we are joined by David Baxter, an international public–private partnerships (PPP) consultant. We cover:

  • Why PPPs are an important way of doing projects that benefit both developing and developed nations.
  • The increased frequency of PPPs around the world.
  • Past PPP success and failures, as well as promising PPP projects in the future.
  • What is being planned with regard to public health-focused PPP projects in light of Covid-19.
  • Further reading, listening, and watching recommendations from:

If you have comments on this episode or if you’d like to suggest topics for future episodes, please email globallawbiz [at] harrisbricken [dot] com.

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This podcast audio has been transcribed by an automatic transcriber.

Fred Rocafort 0:08
Global law and global business go hand in hand, but never seemed to keep pace with each other, developing and developed nations wax and wane and their importance in the global stage. While consumption and interconnectedness both increase, laws and regulations change incessantly, requiring businesses to stay nimble. How do we make sense of it all? Welcome to global lawn business, hosted by Harris Sliwoski International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort.

Jonathan Bench 0:35
and I’m Jonathan Bench. Every Thursday, we take a bite sized look at legal and economic developments and locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law in business with the help of our international guests. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finance, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We cover the important the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex.

Fred Rocafort 0:59
We hope you enjoy today’s podcast. Please connect with us via email and social media to comment and suggest future topics and guests.

Jonathan Bench 1:18
For both developed and developing nations funding and carrying out large scale Public Works and services projects often depends upon utilizing public private partnerships or PPPs. As the name suggests, PPPs involve a collaborative project between the government and the private sector, often with collaboration starting at the early stages of the project identification and planning through funding and completion. The bidding and awarding of ppps generally allows for a competitive and transparent process, which is important due to the scope and financial scale of the project, as well as avoiding corruption in the use of public funds. PPP projects are generally aligned with national strategic priorities and sustainable development goals. They range from transportation projects objects such as airports, railways, highways and waterways, to energy projects such as dams, solar and wind farms, to public health projects, such as preventing and addressing specific diseases and increasing a country’s general level of access to healthcare services. Today we are joined by David Baxter an independent PPP consultant who started his consulting career in public outreach strategies at the University of Limpopo and the Human Sciences Research Council, HSRC, in South Africa. During this time, he was a regional representative on the World Health Organization’s global change and social transformation initiative. One focus of the initiative was how to bring affordable health care services to rural communities that were being ravaged by HIV. strategies to improve healthcare access included working closely with traditional leaders in implementation of public health, education and scientific evaluations of traditional herbal remedies for illnesses at the hsrc he worked closely with aid organizations and donors such as USAID, and Currently he advises public and private institutions all over the world on implementing sustainable and resilient healthcare ppps. David has worked as a consultant with the World Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and USAID. his country health care collaborations include Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He has a senior advisor to the international sustainable resilience Center in New Orleans, which is affiliated with the UNECE PPP Center of Excellence located in Geneva, and an advisor to the Istanbul PPP Center of Excellence. David is also working with the PPP healthcare for All initiative, and is a steering committee member of WA PDP , the World Association of ppps. David, thank you for being with us today.

David Baxter 3:45
It’s a pleasure.

Fred Rocafort 3:47
David, welcome. Welcome to the show. Jonathan in the intro provided us with with a general sketch of your background on the things that you have done, but it would be great if we could kick things off by having You go into a little bit more detail about your career path, and specifically, how it is that you came to be involved, or so involved with ppps.

David Baxter 4:11
Thank you for asking me that question. I started in South Africa about 25 years ago, during the post apartheid era just when apartheid was ending. And I was lucky enough to start working at the University of Limpopo where I got involved in a program that had been initiated by Nelson Mandela, to ensure that they would be public participation by previously disadvantaged communities in the in the development of new strategies to uplift communities within the country. The challenge there that had happened was that many people had been cut off under the rigorous racial laws of South Africa in the past. So it was quite a challenge, but it was a very interesting experience and I learned that One thing that is really important that if you are going to do any development, it is critically important that you focus on having sort of partnerships which engages people, not just people who are launching projects, but also people who are going to be impacted by projects, and the importance of having good partnerships between the public and the private sectors in any country. After that, I moved to the United States and I lived in the state of Utah for a number of years, where I worked with a company called Booz Allen Hamilton, which you might have all heard of, on the public lands program. And under this program, we work very closely with the Department of Interior and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to look at concessions on resources that were found on public lands in the West. So if you think of bureau of land management project or lands, the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, even the Bureau of Reclamation They all have land, which has specific uses or they have resources on that land which could be used. So that introduced me to their the aspect of concessions, which are kind of a early form of ppps. Many resources and activities that are used of public lands in the western United States are on the East Coast do have an important, how would I describe it, important component of reaching out to the private sector, to get them to extract those resources or to improve resources and that can be everything from recreation to forestry, the list is is quite long. At the end of that process, I then started getting more and more involved specifically in ppps. Just specifically those that were related to oil and gas industry activities. And then I slowly progressed you know, towards a situation of working on pvps as we know them, the structured contractual agreements between the public and the private sector to provide a service or a product or form of infrastructure, such as you know, hospitals, Water and Power projects, utility projects, etc. And they’re taught started taking me all over the world. And that’s how I eventually got to the situation of working on ppps as we know them globally. And to date, if I count correctly, I think I’ve worked in or with organizations from at least 40 countries

Jonathan Bench 7:33
David now that you’ve been ranging around the world working on your PPP projects. Can you describe a little more about what they are and why they’re an important way they’d benefit developing and developed nations.

David Baxter 7:46
So one thing that is really important to point out is that governments around the world have often subscribed to the Sustainable Development Goals as goals for their development of their countries. They are 17 of them, but they include everything from education, healthcare, improving infrastructure trade, you can go down the list. And what has happened is every country essentially even if it’s a developed country or an emerging economy has been very concerned about the importance of improving their economies for the benefit of the people, and hence the, you know, the connection with the Sustainable Development Goals. Each country has had different priorities. You know, some countries have been very focused on water projects or sanitation projects in what they call the wash sector. Other countries, you know, have had a greater need to improve their in their transportation infrastructure. In Africa, one of the most important types of projects is power, because so many African countries and towns and villages are not connected to any power grid. And the reason why it’s very attractive for the public and the private sector to work together is because they can come complement one another. Governments are faced with a funding gap. They typically call it a funding gap where they don’t have enough money to meet their, their sustainable development goals or just their development goals. The private sector, on the other hand, often has financing available, it’s also very innovative source where they can introduce innovation. And this forms a wonderful partnership where both parties can work together and complement each other to develop and provide services, all infrastructure that the public sector can do on its own. And the result of this has been in many countries formalized public private partnerships, enabling legislation which has encouraged it, and which has also enabled participation between the public and the private sectors. You’ve got to remember that the public and the private sectors are quite different types of organizations. They cultures are different, the approaches are different. But what is important is for governments i think is that they They realize they can have an innovative partnership with the private sector that might take on a lot of the risks that they would have, provide additional financing to help bridge the funding gap. And then run these projects better than governments can because governments really aren’t in the business of running projects, they are focused on governing and keeping programs on track.

Fred Rocafort 10:24
David, um, I’m old enough to remember a time when, when this idea of the PPP started to become very popular, or or at least it started becoming a commonly heard term in the news. Would it be fair to assume that there’s been sort of steady increase in the popularity of ppps around the world or is perhaps the picture a little bit more checkered and we’ve had a little bit of back and forth In terms of the, the the adoption of the PPP model by countries around the world?

David Baxter 11:08
That’s a good question. Originally ppps, as we know them started largely in the United Kingdom in the UK, during the time of Margaret Thatcher when she was very focused on restructuring the economy of the UK, and giving the private sector greater involvement. So in this in many instances or aspects, I suppose it was a political decision. It caused a lot of concern at the beginning because people associated or assumed it to be sort of a form of privatization of assets, which is really important to understand that under public private partnerships, we don’t privatize national assets. ppps are 20-30 year agreements where at the end of that agreement, the the service or the facility reverts back in ownership to the to the government that owns it all the time. So it was Political at first, but there were successes and so many countries started copying these programs. The result is that they became extremely popular. my home country of South Africa was one of the leaders in public private partnerships. And the opening up of opportunities was I think what was most attractive. Not all has gone well in countries because sometimes projects weren’t really very clearly thought out. The relationship between the public and private sector was misunderstood. Many times governments just thought it would be free money free resources, and they didn’t really realize that PPP projects, even if the government is letting the private sector run them do have costs and responsibilities. So many instances projects weren’t monitored. They weren’t carefully evaluated. Any crazy idea that came across was often put out as a PPP. One of the biggest challenges was what I would call white elephant or prestige projects that really serve no purpose. But we’re done as ppps The biggest challenge has been in the sense of ppps has been the desire to, you know, to, to ensure that there is a revenue flow. And this is critically important because for ppps to be successful, the operator which is from the private from the private sector has to have a source of revenue. These can be in the forms of either availability payments, or sort of a compensatory type of activity or revenue, which has raised from projects. And this has been a great challenge because in many instances, there is there is you know, just not enough compensation or revenue streams. And when this happens, a lot of projects have failed. So, it’s critically important to ensure that projects are going to be well designed, well thought out. Going to offer you what they call value for money and that they are economically and commercially viable because of they’re not these projects will fail.

Jonathan Bench 14:08
David, could you tell us a little bit about some of the PPP projects you’ve heard about some of the famous the good projects are famously awful projects.

David Baxter 14:16
There’s good and bad projects around the world. So, you know, I think some of the best projects obviously are the ones that are the most needed. So for example, you know, water projects, power projects, they generally are going to have a guaranteed source of revenue because people are paying for the power They’re paying for the water. But these projects do often get into difficulty as well, because political decisions are made on the pricing per unit of what has been delivered. So you do find that in some countries when, for example, with water projects, and this has happened in the Middle East, where even though the pride of the water is produced, you know through large desalinization Type projects, for example, the prices heavily subsidized by the government. Because when you have a, you know, desalinization is an expensive process, the water costs a lot. And if you have a population that can’t afford it, they’re not going to buy the water. And that would put the project and a considerable challenge. And so what has happened in many Middle Eastern countries where there’s been water ppps, as oil revenues have declined, and we’ve been following this in the news, I’m sure everyone’s aware of that. That it’s not uncommon to have a situation then that governments do not have as much money available to subsidize the cost of that water, for example. And then they’ve increased the water prices they’ve increased which has resulted in the concessionaire or the operator of the water utility having to increase their prices, which then has often resulted in riots. protests and things like that. So that, you know is one thing it has to be considered very carefully. There’s a very interesting case also, of a PPP project that friends of mine in Albania shared with me last year, a highway between the capital Tirana and Kosovo, its neighbor was the road was upgraded and it was opened as a public private partnership. The problem there was that in many instances, the way in many cases you had the communication was very bad. And the public are not told rarely that they were going to have to now pay a price to use the road. And even though the toll fee was only five euros for a country like Albania, where people are pretty poor, as well as in Kosovo, five euros it’s a big deal. So when the project opened, they were riots. The toll gates were attacked, there was even a burning attempt on some of the toll gates. The project basically or the concessionaire could not charge for the use of the of the toll road. And it took quite a while to recover from that, and also to ensure that the that the concessionaire company was compensated for the lost revenue. And efforts were made to just ensure that the public did get used to paying the fee. Last year, I drove on that road to Kosovo. And when I went through the toll gates, everyone seemed to be paying and they weren’t any what you call it, weird situations of protests or anything along the route. So it looks like they solved it. And the types of projects that I think are the most successful in ppps, I think have been airport concessions as airports have, you know, grown to accommodate the globalization of the world’s economy and millions of people are traveling now. This is also a story a good story that’s possibly gone. wrong, because in the covert period now that we are facing, we have a situation where a ports are empty, nothing’s moving through them. And you can just think of the ramifications, therefore, the operators have multiple concessions. I had a gentleman talk to me about the dubai airport. And you know who it’s talking about, you know that they’re not getting revenues from planes landing, they’re not getting revenues from passengers moving through the massive terminals there. And so as a result is that everything kind of has come to a dead standstill, and there’s a big danger for the airport and, you know, to survive. I think what is important to take note is that some projects might work very well in some countries and will not work well in other countries. And this is important. And then there’s just stories. You know, for example, here in Virginia, where I live there at the Hampton Roads up on the Coastal Virginia, at the Naval base near Norfolk, there was a series of tunnels which were put under the sound there to ensure that traffic could move through, they can’t put in bridges for strategic importance, because if there was a war, and an enemy bombed bridges, they would collapse into the sound. And then the US Navy wouldn’t be able to able to deploy its forces. This contract was signed for 99 years. And it’s incredible that you people just have never heard of a 99 year contract. And you know, when we talk about risk allocation and assumptions that are being made, I’m not sure how that will ever work out because we don’t even seem to know these days, what’s going to happen in five years time. So we’ll have to see what happens with that type of project. I think the challenge that people are concerned about are mega projects. Now these are projects in billions of dollars, because the contract terms have to be 30 4050 years to recoup the castle’s costs. In our Africa and emerging countries, smaller PPP projects that focus specifically on healthcare, I think being more successful. And one emerging sector definitely that is going to do well, because of the post covid 19. period or era, whatever we want to call it is definitely going to be digital infrastructure as ppps. That’s a use of PE type PPP. It works very well because users are used to the idea that if they use internet or they use telephones, or they use Wi Fi or anything, that they pay for that so there is a guaranteed revenue. No one expects to get Wi Fi free. with water projects. A lot of people might expect that, you know, the water falls from the sky set must be free. Why am I paying for it and then they protest.

Fred Rocafort 20:45
David, it was really interesting to hear about airports use singled airport projects out as well as beings with some of the more successful tpps I’m originally from Puerto Rico and the the main airport there was basically put under new management a few years ago. Under the PPP model, they brought in a Mexican airport operator to to manage this. The airport which is, of course, ultimately still a public facility. My understanding is that in the US the the model has not been used widely for four airports, but at least based on what I’ve heard, it is more more common in other parts of the world and I can’t really give you a personal opinion. I think I’ve only used the airport once since they started the PPP, but the general consensus seems to be that if has brought up brought about considerable improvements in the quality of the facilities and the services. I’d like to turn now to, to the health sector, obviously, you know, at this moment that’s first and foremost, and just about everyone’s mind. And I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about notable ppps in the in the health space? And also with specific regard to COVID-19. Are there any ppps in the pipeline to help deal with this particular problem? And perhaps more broadly, maybe you could, you could tell us a little bit about what you think could be done that perhaps is, is not being planned at the moment, using the PPP model to help governments better handle The ongoing pandemic?

David Baxter 23:01
Well, it’s a good question. So one of the countries that I’ve been collaborating with the PPP Center of Excellence in Istanbul for six years now, they are, you know, based in Turkey if you don’t know that it stumbles in Turkey, and the government there has had a very successful and a very, very focused program on healthcare ppps. What is very interesting about Turkey is that they don’t have enabling legislation or an enabling environment for ppps per se for the whole country. But certain ministries have developed their own laws and regulations. And Turkey has done this very well. And what they have done is they’ve started a program to build provincial hospitals, that basically 27 provinces at the last count I heard, which were being operated as ppps. The model was very interesting because the private sector partner was responsible specifically for building the facility and maintaining and operating it, but not providing the healthcare services. So if you went to the hospital, the building was built by the private sector. If you went to the cafeteria and you had something if you used the parking lot, you did anything like that. This was all done by the operator, but the actual health care activities inside the hospital visits with doctors and nurses and clinician to the clinic, which clinical staff. You know, if you were occupying a hospital bed, you’d the government didn’t own the bed, but when the nurse came to you, it was a government official. And the reason they did that was because Turkey has a pretty good national health care insurance program. And so the government basically took a lot of the risk away by, you know, taking care of the medical side, and letting the private sector focus on the operations and maintenance and building the facilities and keeping them up and running. And you can understand with modern hospitals, that is quite a daunting task. I mean, I think in most hospital these days, the vast majority of the staff that are they are not medical team members, but they are engineers, maintenance crews, etc. So that was the model that worked there. Other countries that have been very focused on exploring healthcare ppps, Saudi Arabia, I worked on a project in Saudi Arabia with the health ministry and the King Faisal hospital. And they were exploring opportunities under the Crown Prince’s 2013 version of finding ways to in a post sort of fossil fuel era to make government ministries and organizations and assets much more. How would you call successful and not reliant on government subsidies so they have had At a very aggressive program and looking at health care products or projects, sorry, the scale can vary between countries. I mean, a typical Hospital in the United States I think would cost you a very large campus could cost a billion dollars. In some smaller countries, you know, 10s of millions do quite well. When I worked with the Millennium Challenge Corporation as a consultant, they had a very good health care project that they were looking at in the SU to add just not focusing on a national hospital as such, but providing local mini hospitals or net or local clinics, if you could call it that. And many of these types of projects, not specifically the suit, but many countries have been considered as a potential PPP projects. The challenge is that the smaller the project, the less interest there is because the transactional costs or the legal fees to launch these projects can be extremely high as we move forward into this COVID-19 era, and the The changes that have taken place, I think healthcare is going to become a more and more important consideration. And it might even displace, you know, priorities that governments had previously under the the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals, the 17 goals and could result in prioritization. I think we have to look at PPP type activities and partnerships in three levels in the short term, the medium term and the long term. And the short term I think, would be sort of more the less structured type of public private partnerships, which I would just call partnerships between the public and the private sector, which might be philanthropic in nature, you know, the big foundations which are helping healthcare institutions to cope with the crisis as it is now. So these could be collaborations, you know, with the, you know, the, the witch cook with Microsoft, it could be collaborations with the Rockefeller Foundation, you know that there are many examples of that. And that’s true address the immediate crisis. But these are unsustainable type of partnerships because they are often based on goodwill, and they’re not contractual. But as we start looking towards the medium and the long term in the medium, I would say the next two to three years in the long term, you know, 20 years down the path. And we are faced with the likelihood that COVID-19 is going to become an annual event, and it could be covert, you know, 2021 as we go down, this is critically important to consider in public private partnerships, because public private partnerships for big services or large infrastructure can easily be contracts for 25-30 years plus. And this means that they are going to be repeat incidents that could threaten the sustainability and resilience of PPP projects, because in a 20 to 30 year time period, you know, it’s going to happen again. And so people are looking very carefully now, and what type of projects could be done reprioritizing them and then also to you know taking great concern into sort of the pandemic definition and how this impacts force majeure clauses in contracts, because it kind of was just floated over in the past, people didn’t really ever think these things were going to happen. So force measure was just not very well defined in contracts. This is going to become critically important. And I think what we’re going to see and strategies now in the medium and the long term are they are going to be greater needs and desires for sustainable projects, and resilient projects. And by that I mean projects that can cope with unexpected changes. Because if this is not built into the contractual expectations and deliverables for PPP projects, there’s going to be a hard time raising the financing for them. I know the insurance industry is very apprehensive at this moment about force missoura. And there’s definitely going to filter down on two and PPP projects because if PPP project Can’t be ensured, the interest rates being charged by parties would be so high that they wouldn’t be what they call bankable, they no one would invest in them specific type of projects that I think might have a great future that exist include all that could be considered, you know, include things like national emergency centers that could be run as ppps. Because especially in the United States, we’ve seen there’s been really no coordination, or if there has been coordination, it’s been haphazard. One of the things that I have, you know, discuss with many pupils the idea of, you know, having warehouses for example, where strategic supplies of medical goods could be kept or supplies, and these could be partnerships between the government and the private sector, where the government owns the way house but the private sector or producers of for example, ppppp And things like that could store the materials in these warehouses and just build up a surplus that there’s always a surplus of three months for example, of of which are, quote, goods that are stored there. So that if we have another event, we have a strategic backlog of goods. So I think you know, the opportunities are there. I think what is really important, though, is to consider, what can we do now to improve things take these opportunities and turn them into great situations, not dwell on the present, you know, woe unto me is not a good strategy. And in the sense of PPP projects that have stalled, this is a wonderful chance to upgrade them and improve them and I know you asked about health care, but one thing that’s important and a good concentration site except for example, with airport projects, you know, there’s multitudes of activities that take place at airports. And one of the biggest challenges maintenance of runways and facilities because There’s always traffic. And I’ve heard numbers of airports are considering this as a godsend that now that there’s no traffic, they can speed up the construction of new runways, revitalize them, improve them. And in that way, it keeps the public private partnership partnership strong, because both parties have something to do. And in that sense, it is beneficial to the private sector as well because they would be engaged in a project and not just be seen as asking for handouts.

Jonathan Bench 32:35
David, you’ve given us some excellent insights into, especially with COVID still on everyone’s mind deciding how to move forward. I think your your insights are very timely and and also appreciate the optimistic tone as well. I tend to be on the optimistic side, and always looking at how to improve a bad situation. I think that we’re lucky to have you as part of the part of the global team working on ways that the public and Private can work together in the future, especially to address what we think will be these kinds of recurring health crises. We love to educate our audience. And frankly, Fred and I derive a lot of personal benefit out of these interactions as well with our guests. We’d love to hear your recommendations for things you’ve read, listen to watch lately, that would help keep our audience informed about PPP works, and also just kind of generally about things that you’re interested in on the international stage. Could you share a few of those with us?

David Baxter 33:34
Sure. So, you know, I I think I should have been an academic and not a practitioner ppps I did have obviously as you heard earlier on some experience of teaching at a university for a number of years, but I’ve always had an inquiring mind and look for, you know, sources of information. What I have done, which has been very helpful to me, as I’ve you know, subscribe to a number of news feeds. So for example, the Bloomberg News, they always have interesting things that that makes me think. And just today there were two very interesting articles in Bloomberg one, which was called getting ready for a tsunami of pandemic lawsuits. And that really touched on a lot of the things that I’ve been looking for, and I wrote a blog on it. And I am a prolific blogger, my wife says, I should get a life but I enjoy it. And I, you know, write constantly on LinkedIn. And what happens to is really nice, is that people often you know, then engage with you and read your LinkedIn articles and start asking questions from all over the world and audiences that you didn’t ever expect that you would have said those instances that has helped me enter into dialogue with experts around the world, sharing ideas, they will often forward me information. Just today I had a conversation with a gentleman from Ethiopia, where they launched a new PPP law and He is a professor at the University and we had a wonderful day. discussion on the TPP guidelines laws that have been issued, and the pros and cons, the weaknesses and the strengths. So that’s another way of making it work. I also subscribe, for example, to specifically, you know, to the World Bank group’s newsletters that come out. So this is the IMF, the IMF, the IFC and the World Bank itself. And then they also have when you join that sort of network of that subscription network, you can also click on buttons which allow you to then to get feeds from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the EU organizations, the Asian Development Bank, and the list goes on and also the, you know, the African Development Bank, and what I have done also is, you know, engage with people that I’ve met at conferences. Take part in webinars and podcasts like this, this event to help discussions. And before you know it, if you’re not careful, you could be overwhelmed with sources of information. I would also say for those who are really interested in deep diving into ppps, you know, go to organizations like the World Bank’s PPPIF site and have a look there, they have wonderful resources whenever I need a reference document with I go there. And the most exciting thing about so much of the donor organizations and the banks is that the electronic library content is free. And so, you know, search look for it, find out you know, if you have LinkedIn contacts and you missing something, you can’t find it, you don’t know where to reach out to them. But that’s generally what I would do. And this is kind of the sad thing, I suppose of my life. But I would think I do that for about the first two hours of every day when I’m not on the road, that I you know, look for news feeds, new information, new ideas, and, you know, let it you know, to stick In my head and then often usually at like two o’clock in the morning, something goes off my head and I quickly grab my pen and write on a notepad and the idea for the next blog or for the next engagement. So there are many, many opportunities there. But starting with the donors and the World Bank institutions, and the other development banks is a good starting point. two biggest focuses that I’ve had on this as a result, many organizations around the world reaching out to me has been a concern about you know, the force majeure elements on contract provisions for PPP contracts. And then also, you know, exploring what sustainability really means and what resilience really means. Because so many people talk about sustainability, but they don’t talk about resilience at the same time or vice versa. And those two can exist with without each other. And then you know, one organization and I don’t want to push organizations as such, but is the WP that I belong to which is the World Association of Public Private partnership units and practitioners. What is very exciting about that it’s a forum where you can enter into debates with members discuss ideas. And it’s just amazing the ideas that people are coming from and what is important is it brings the public and the private sector together into a into a forum where they can discuss common challenges, common ideas and things that I’m really looking forward looking for us solutions and not feeling sad about the current situation. You know, it’s interesting that many organizations are launching these big investigations on what is the impact of coronavirus on PPP as we all know it’s detrimental bad, etc. and that it would be great if people started focusing on what are the solutions and what are the opportunities and what lessons have we learned so that we can design build produce, however you want to call it better? ppps.

Jonathan Bench 38:57
And Fred, what about you? What have you been into lately?

Fred Rocafort 39:02
Well, Jonathan, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts these days, probably more than usual. And I’d like to recommend one of them. Dan Carlin’s common sense and in particular, the most recent episode number 319, a recipe for Cesar. Some of our listeners might be familiar with Dan Carlin, he was really active. I would say about four or five years ago, he’s been podcasting for a very long time. He actually has two podcasts, one called hardcore history, which focuses of course, on historical topics, and then he has another one, which is the one I’m recommending, called the common sense. In the aftermath of the last general election, Dan Carlin’s sort of took a sabbatical. He, as he explained in on the podcast, you know, he was having some, some real Issues making making sense of some of what was going on. He for a very long time, you know, the way he put it was that for a very long time he really wanted to see a departure from business as usual but he was a little bit troubled by what actually happened when we got something a little bit different. But he’s he’s some he’s trying once again, and the the result which dropped last month was actually was actually classic Dan Carlin is sort of objective middle of the road. view at the current environment so highly encourage everyone to to listen, not only to this episode, but pretty much to anything that Dan Carlin has put out. In both of his podcasts even picking out something from a few years back. It’s bound to be irrelevant. What about you, Jonathan?

Jonathan Bench 40:56
I’d like to recommend a book called The Gambler by William C. Rempel It’s a biography about very little known tycoon named Kirk Kerkorian. He was an Armenian immigrant who died in 2015. And it really is a rags to riches story you know, darling story in the United States as we like to think that you can go from nothing to something in a lifetime and, and this bears out. He was I think he was dropped out of school by the time he was in eighth grade, selling newspapers on the street and he became a boxer, pilot, a poker player, and eventually built Las Vegas into what it is today. You know, he bought and sold, bought sold and built hotels and are famous ones that that you know of, and he even bought and sold MGM Studios three times. And it’s very so it’s very much it’s very capitalistic focus, right? It’s kind of a, you can do anything with money if you get enough money, but it’s also a really interesting look at how to make calculated decisions together. risks. I think my favorite quote from him in the book was anything that can be solved with money is not a problem. So a very capitalistic look at life, but interesting take on on what you can do when you when you believe that you can, you can make a deal happen in any situation. David, I want to thank you for spending time with us today. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of time we had with you and we’re looking forward to speaking with you more in the future.

Fred Rocafort 42:27
Thank you, David.

David Baxter 42:29
Thank you very much. And I would be willing to or be excited to participate in future podcasts. And have a great week yourself.

Jonathan Bench 42:38
We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. We look forward to connecting with you on social media to continue to discuss developments in global law and business. and tune in next week for another episode. We’ll see you then.

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