4 Responses

  1. Nicholas Wilson
    Nicholas Wilson January 27, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Thank you for the interesting piece, which I have only just come across. As several other comments above have noted, private sector engagement is an umbrella term, which captures a wide variety of efforts of development organisations to work with business. For donor agencies, private sector engagement represents a shift away from a focus on bilateral work with developing country governments. One aspect of this that the DCED has attempted to capture (see here) is the internal changes that donor agencies are making to better engage with the private sector. The DCED has recently produced a briefing note on the changes are being made in policies and procedures, staff roles and team structures, in order to pave the way for strategic private sector engagement (which can be found here)

  2. Keith Twyford
    Keith Twyford September 9, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for offering up some comments and thoughts on this important topic. I found the ACFID article a little narrow in its outlook largely because it seems to focus on Australian private sector organisations. What about the private sector in developing countries? That is where there is enormous potential for real economic development, job creation and better service delivery. Too often, donors focus solely on the public sector and overlook the critical role of the private sector and the things that it can achieve in a highly effective way. DFAT has worked in this area a bit (witness the various market development and M4P programs around the place) and is also embarking on private sector development (PSD) programs such as Investing in Infrastructure (3i) in Cambodia. PSD is certainly an area with rich potential to implement aid programs in a different way.

    KARORI SINGH September 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    It’s really revealing that Aus private sector is legging behind rest of the developed countries in international development partership, Priyanka. In fact, public sector, private sector, ‘third sector’ (NGO’s) and local people together are architects of not only sustainable development but global peace and stability. It is in them interest of private sector to get engaged in the shared values which in turn will facilitate operational activities of the private sector. Mutual learning and thereby generating synergy would make the better development outcomes. Neither private sector itself can flourish in isolation, nor mere corporate social responsibility is sufficient condition of sustainable development. Private sector must contribute a significant portion of its profit to the wellbeing of the people around the world. I am confident your ideas will convince and persuade Australian private sector for parterning with other sectors for promoting the global shared values of international development outcomes with greater zeal and vigour. I think private sector is not that much stubborn to ignore its role in development partnership but one must engage it through convincing and persuasive methods. We must innovate better framework for engagement by learning from the past and continuous mutual learning. Most of private sector players are highly enlightened and having vision of the better world and therefore, I believe that SDG’s will be realised by 2030 with appropriate engagement of all the stake holders.

  4. Tess Newton Cain
    Tess Newton Cain September 8, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Thanks for this post and for pointing me to the ministerial statement on this which I’ve now read. It highlights a couple of things I have been thinking about for a while. One is that a lot of the work that has been done in this space has been focused on opportunities that arise in large countries/markets such as exist in Africa and Asia (see the case studies at the end of the statement). There is insufficient attention given as to how these approaches may or may not translate into the smaller countries/markets of the Pacific. Bizarrely, the lessons learned from the Enterprise Challenge Fund pilot are not referenced here (disclaimer: I was the Vanuatu country manager for the ECF 2008-2010). A second concern I have (which is reflected more in the ACFID post rather than the ministerial statement) is that there is a lot of attention paid to how NGOs and businesses can collaborate and partner (hopefully to minimise the risk of them bickering over the same pot of money) but absolutely nowhere near enough attention about how relationships with national and sub-national state agencies can be developed, strengthened and maintained. Here in Vanuatu Cyclone Pam threw into sharp relief the gulf between NGOs and government ministries pretty much across the board. Even to the extent of one country manager responding to a comment on a report from a government official with ‘oh we just assumed that people in the government don’t read things’. And I have commented elsewhere on the need for more and better state-business relationships here in Vanuatu and elsewhere in the region.
    And then I have a very simple and possibly mundane question – why can’t businesses apply for grants under the Direct Aid Program?

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