Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Foreign AffairsThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (MoFA) oversees the Netherlands’ development cooperation. The Executive Summary of its 2018 Policy Document on Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Investing in Global Prospects, can be found here. The full policy document is here. Among the key changes in policy that it lists are:

  • The focus of development cooperation will shift to unstable regions (the Sahel, the Horn of
    Africa, the Middle East and North Africa) in order to tackle root causes of poverty, migration,
    terrorism and climate change.
  • Improving the position of women and girls is a key objective in all areas of policy.
  • €60 million annually for new programmes supporting general and vocational education, employment and income opportunities for young people and women in the focus regions.
  • A larger role for the private sector and knowledge institutions, including the Dutch ‘top sectors’, with a view to tackling social challenges worldwide.
  • Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalisation for sustainable and inclusive
  • Emphasis in economic diplomacy on SMEs and startups, on new growth markets including those in the field of innovation and the SDGs, on international cooperation for innovation and on knowledge diplomacy.

Private sector development (PSD) policy and strategy

MoFA channels most of its PSD support through non-governmental organisations, multilaterals and multi-donor initiatives. The NGOs work mainly on market (value) chain development, access to finance, advocacy, business skills and vocational training. Multilaterals and multi-donor initiatives also play an important role in The Netherlands’ PSD strategy, as do partnerships with the Dutch private sector. Meanwhile, Dutch embassies work directly with partner governments to improve the regulatory environment for business.

Across the various areas of intervention, special emphasis is placed on support to disadvantaged groups and regions. Fragile states have become a focal point of Dutch PSD efforts. Among other things, the MoFA facilitates Dutch companies in making pro-poor investments in conflict affected countries. Where partner governments have a weak record of engagement with the private sector, the MoFA works to strengthen domestic employers’, producers’ and workers’ organisations.

Partnership mechanisms for the private sector

MoFA recognises that economic growth in developing countries is now at the heart of the agenda for international cooperation and MoFA notes that there is greater use being made of Dutch know-how, including business sector expertise. Cooperation between the government, the private sector and civil society organisations is increasingly at the centre of Dutch development policy. MoFA explains that aim of public-private partnerships (PPPs) is to work together to achieve joint development goals and to improve aid effectiveness in an innovative way by combining and strengthening each other’s knowledge, capacities and resources. Public-private partnerships, business instruments and economic diplomacy can lead to gains in both commercial profit and poverty reduction. Therefore, the Netherlands has established and supports many partnership mechanisms. The Netherlands hopes that these partnerships will build bridges worldwide.

Transparency, effectiveness and results in PSD

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is committed to increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of its development policy. Evaluation and transparency are important elements of this commitment.