Development Centre

DevTalks - Framing private sector action in international development co-operation: why and how?



Monday, 21st of March 2022 | 13.00-14.30 CET - REGISTER HERE

Framing private sector action in international development co-operation:
why and how?


André de Mello e Souza, Researcher, Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), Brazil

Uta Bollhoff, Senior Adviser, UNICEF Generation Unlimited

Priyanto Rohmattulah, Deputy Director, Foreign Policy and International Development Cooperation, BAPPENAS (Indonesian Ministry of national Development Planning)

Vitalice Meja, Executive Director of Reality of Aid Africa and former Executive Director of the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AfroDAD)

Welby Leaman, Senior Director of Global Affairs, Walmart

Moderated by Ragnheidur Elín Arnadóttir, Director of the OECD Development Centre, and with opening remarks by Jorge Moreira da Silva, Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate 


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The private sector is a key actor in sustainable development and contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in its own right. It plays an increasingly central role in international development co-operation, contributing most recently to national efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Development partners are progressively adapting their own policies and approaches to engaging with an increasingly diverse private sector – multinationals, investors, domestic firms and MSMEs – in international co-operation projects as co-funders, implementers and beneficiaries. However, the role of the private sector within international development co-operation is not without challenges. Poorly designed private sector policies and projects can lead to unintended and adverse outcomes, such as subsidising private enterprises with public resources without additionality, crowding-out local investments, or jeopardising ESG standards.

Scaling-up development initiatives, in terms of both financing and implementation, requires dialogue and trust between public and private actors who may have not worked together in the past. More honest discussions about the balance between development and business outcomes is critically important. In this context, several global initiatives are trying to better align private incentives with collective needs, such as the Kampala Principles on Effective Private Sector Engagement in Development Co-operation and the OECD-UNDP Impact Standards for Financing Sustainable Development.

This DevTalk will consider how to better align the needs and specificities of developing countries in charting a sustainable recovery with the obligations and priorities of the private sector and how new modalities of development co-operation might encourage this alignment. What frameworks can support more effective and impactful co-operation? What safeguards and policies should be in place to address potential negative externalities and correct course? Are binding global regulations necessary or even feasible, and what role exists for non-binding principles?


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