Introduction to the DCED

Economic Opportunity for the Poor through the Private Sector: Learning from Experience

A definition: Private Sector Development is defined as the range of strategies that aim to establish markets that function vibrantly and fairly, providing economic opportunities of quality to poor people at scale. (DCED PSD Synthesis Note, 2019)

People around the world prefer the dignity of working their own way out of poverty, rather than depending on charity. The private sector can generate the jobs and economic opportunities that enable people to do that. Donors are therefore 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 and evidence on results.

Founded in 1979, the DCED has developed a substantial body of knowledge about the rapidly expanding field of PSD – as summarised on its website at A Secretariat, in collaboration with policy advisors, researchers and field practitioners, ensures the quality and cutting-edge character of its contents. In the last year, had over 155,000 page views from more than 65,000 users.

The DCED’s members – governmental and philanthropic donors organisations as well as multilateral agencies – share the vision of making PSD more effective by:

  • Sharing experience between agencies and field programmes;
  • Developing and disseminating knowledge and guidance on good practice in PSD; and
  • Communicating evidence on results in PSD.

Knowledge and Guidance for PSD Practitioners

The DCED website includes a wide range of resources on all major PSD approaches and themes – such as Industrial Policy, Employment Creation and Small Enterprise Development. New resource areas are being developed in line with member priorities, for example on Increasing opportunities for refugees or Innovative Finance.  The DCED also has a growing library of short document summaries and synthesis notes on PSD approaches, to make knowledge accessible to busy readers at Headquarters and the field.

Many of the DCED’s own knowledge and guidance products are developed by its Working Groups on Private Sector Engagement, Market SystemsResults MeasurementBusiness Environment ReformWomen’s Economic Empowerment, and Green Growth.

News on PSD is regularly communicated through the DCED Newsletter, and twitter and Linkedin. The DCED also offers webinars on member experiences in different PSD approaches and results measurement, which can be accessed on its Youtube channel.

Evidence on results in PSD

With PSD a priority in most agencies, policy makers are keen to learn about what works and what does not. A focus of the DCED is therefore to communicate data on results in PSD – by listing credible ‘impact stories’ that report impact at scale; organising robust field-level and academic evidence in an overarching results chain – the DCED ‘Evidence Framework’; and publishing mail-outs on the Latest Research and Evidence. In addition, the BEAM ‘Evidence Map’ compiles evidence on results from market systems development programmes.

Other member agency benefits

The DCED website offers a rich set of information to newcomers and more advanced practitioners in PSD and also serves as a central repository of current PSD policies of major donor agencies. In addition, the DCED Secretariat offers support to member agencies on request, such as through advice on any technical questions on PSD, and agency-based workshops and presentations. DCED Annual Meetings include technical exchanges on a chosen theme, most recently on PSD in the Age of Digitalisation and Youth Employment. To find out more about member benefits, please refer to our webpage on Why and How to Join the DCED.

For more information, visit the DCED at, or contact the DCED Secretariat at



Photo credits

Photo credit: Katalyst