The Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) is the forum for the many funding and inter-governmental agencies that are developing a vibrant private sector – the businesses, small and large, that provide the bulk of employment and prosperity worldwide. It was established informally in 1979, when its first members met at a meeting convened by the World Bank. Until 2005, the DCED was known as the “Committee of Donor Agencies for Small Enterprise Development”. Select these links for quick access to further information on the DCED Annual Meetings, ExCo, Working Groups and Secretariat.
Gradual expansion and formalisation
Early achievements of the DCED include the Guiding Principles for Selecting and Supporting Intermediaries in Micro- and Small-Enterprise Finance (1995), which played a pivotal role in the micro-finance ‘revolution’ and contributed to the formation of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP). Similarly, the Guiding Principles for Business Development Services (2001) have shaped the debate about how to support private sector development (PSD). In particular, they have pointed to the potential for donor agencies to consider whole systems of business support, and to identify market-based solutions that will assist local enterprises in self-sustaining ways.
Building on these successes, the DCED was gradually formalised. In 2004, a membership fee was introduced, and a Secretariat for day-to-day management established. Membership fees are paid into a Trust Fund administered by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). A constitution, the DCED Charter, was agreed by the 2006 DCED Annual Meeting, and a board, the Executive Committee (ExCo) was elected. As more and more agencies recognise the private sector as a key to any sustainable solution to poverty, the DCED’s membership, activities, and ambitions have greatly expanded. In 2009, members agreed as their vision to make the DCED:
“the independent and respected inter-agency point of reference for knowledge, data and agreed standards on the role of the private sector in development”.
To help implement this vision, an expanded Secretariat and an increased membership fee were agreed. The Charter was amended accordingly. Currently, the DCED has 22 members, with the Government of Belgium being the latest agency to formally join the Committee in June 2018.
Organisational features in the context of aid effectiveness
The DCED is characterised by distinctive organisational features:
- It is led by its member agencies, responding to the shared interests and needs that arise as members work with their partners in government, private sector and civil society in developing countries
- It develops guidelines for effective practice based on thepractical experiences gained in the field
- It includes among its membership a mix of bi- and multilateral donors and agencies, and private foundations, bringing together a broad set of expertise
- It provides institutional memory to members and others, in private sector development.
Overall, the activities of the Committee demonstrate the determination of many donor and development agencies to coordinate their work, to learn from each others’ achievements and to share knowledge with others. This way, the DCED contributes to the realisation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, which aims to ensure that “donors’ actions are more harmonised, transparent, and collectively effective”. Through its technical focus, it also provides a key platform through which agencies can implement the commitments made at the Busan Aid Effectiveness Conference: The outcome document recognises “the central role of the private sector in advancing innovation, creating wealth, income and jobs” and commits partners to “enable the participation of the private sector in the design and implementation of development policies and strategies to foster sustainable growth and poverty reduction”.