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About the DCED

Download 'About the DCED' as a PDF   
  Download 'A Walk through the DCED Website' here

To get in touch with the DCED Coordinator via email, click here

Supporting Poverty Reduction, Economic Opportunity and Self Reliance through Private Sector Development

The World Bank's survey 'Voices of the Poor' (2000) survey asked 60,000 poor people what they saw as their best route out of poverty; the answer was clear: through jobs or economic opportunities. Donors are responding by increasingly placing private sector development (PSD) at the heart of their work.

The Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) enhances these efforts by sharing information about what works – based on practical experience, as well as research into businesses’ views on their constraints and needs of support. Founded in 1979, the DCED has developed a substantial body of knowledge and experience about the rapidly expanding field of PSD – as summarised in its website at A dedicated Secretariat, and an active global network with policy advisors, researchers and on-the-ground practitioners, help ensure the quality and cutting-edge character of its contents. About twenty thousand webpage views per month demonstrate its value for the many actors discovering or working in PSD.

Vision and Strategic Priorities

The DCED currently has 22 members – bi- and multilateral donors and agencies as well as private foundations – who share the vision of making PSD more effective. To achieve this, the DCED has three strategic priorities:
  • Sharing knowledge and experience between donors, development agencies and field programmes;
  • Developing and disseminating knowledge and guidance on good practice in PSD; and
  • Communicating evidence on results in PSD.

Knowledge Sharing and Guidance on PSD

In addition to its specialised databases on Value Chain Development and Business Environment Reform, the DCED’s Knowledge Portal on PSD includes dedicated pages with resources from a wide range of agencies and researchers on many PSD topics, such as Industrial Policy, M4P and Partnerships with the Private Sector. New thematic pages are being added in line with member priorities, most recently on job creation, youth employment and inclusive business.

Syntheses and original research
of effective practices or new trends, such as in Small Enterprise support, Market Development and Challenge Funds, are being expanded. The latest publications and activities in PSD are regularly communicated through the DCED Newsletter, and its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Many of the DCED’s own publications and guidance materials are developed by the five thematic groups on Results Measurement, Business Environment Reform, PSD in Conflict-Affected Environments, Green Growth, and Women’s Entrepreneurship.

Measuring results is a top priority for members, although tangible progress has been elusive. The DCED has convened field-based experts to develop a practical Standard for results measurement – providing practitioners with a common framework and an incentive, to measure their programmes’ results credibly. A growing library of supporting documents and case studies is available on the website. Many agencies and more than 100 field programmes in over 50 cocuntries are currently working towards compliance with the Standard, representing $1.5 billion in development funds spent. 

The DCED Standard’s application in different contexts have also been addressed in other groups, including through Practical Guidelines on Measuring Results of PSD in Conflict-Affected Environments and on Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment at the household level, each complemented by two cases studies.

The DCED’s work on PSD in Conflict-Affected Environments (CAEs) also includes an online compilation of guidance and a library of 450 documents on PSD in CAEs, including the DCED’s own publication on Key Resources for PSD Practitioners in CAEs. Recently, the DCED developed an inter-agency training course which can be offered on demand.

DCED members’ common understanding of good practice in Business Environment Reform (BER) has been documented in the Practical Guidance on Supporting BER. Through publications and conferences, the DCED has also tackled key issues such as BER and the Informal Economy, an Introduction for Practitioners to the Political Economy of BER, The compatibility of Strategic Industrial Policy and Business Environment Reform, and Measuring Results of BER. A working paper and donor guidance on Quality Infrastructure are currently being finalised.

DCED member agencies are increasingly interested in partnering directly with businesses – by sharing costs, risk of private investments in developing countries through competitive selection mechanism such as challenge funds. In 2013, the DCED published a review of experience in donor partnerships with business. It provides an overview of different partnership models and their results. Also in 2013, the DCED developed Practical Guidelines for Measuring Results in Challenge Funds, based on the DCED Standard, which were also presented at the High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in Mexico, April 2014. Another priority identified by the review was the need to enhance systems for demonstrating the additionality of donor support to business. Under the supervision of a DCED Partnerships Task Force, the DCED has developed a document on good practice principles and assessment criteria in this area.

Making the Case for PSD

While PSD is attracting growing interest among development practitioners, many remain cautious about collaboration with the private sector to achieve development goals. A focus across the DCED’s work is therefore to communicate fresh, robust data on results achieved through PSD. The DCED website lists credible ‘success stories that report impact at scale. The DCED also organises strong field-level and academic evidence on PSD impacts in the form of an overarching results chain - the evidence framework - and publishes regular mail-outs on the Latest Research and Evidence.

Learn more and get involved!

To learn more about the organisational structure of the DCED and how to join, please click here.

To get in touch with the DCED Coordinator, click here .
Last update: 14 October 2014

Photographs courtesy of Melina Heinrich and Katalyst.