Overview of the Business Environment Working Group (BEWG)

Objectives of the Working Group

The DCED established the Business Environment Working Group (BEWG) in 2002 to share knowledge on donor-supported business environment reform (BER) in developing countries and to support good practice and new approaches. The Group helps agencies and their programme partners to effectively position business environment reform as a part of an integrated private sector development strategy and to enhance the synergies between these reforms and broader development objectives. It is chaired by Sylvia Solf of the World Bank Group, and Moussa Traore of USAID.

The DCED defines the business environment as a complex of policy, legal, institutional, and regulatory conditions that govern business activities. It is a sub-set of the investment climate and includes the administration and enforcement mechanisms established to implement government policy, as well as the institutional arrangements that influence the way key actors operate (e.g., government agencies, regulatory authorities, and business membership organisations including businesswomen associations, civil society organisations, trade unions, etc.)

In June 2018, the Working Group produced a video introduction to the Business Environment Reform approach:

Full list of Working Group publications

This section compiles DCED research, case studies and guidance on specific aspects of BER.

Business Environment Reform in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations

  • Discussion paper: BER in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations, 2020. Considers how donor and development agencies can support business environment reform (BER) in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCAS). In particular, how can humanitarian aid lay the foundation for longer-term reforms, so that the private sector can grow and create jobs?  Practical recommendations are included for reformers to consider.

BER and Regulatory Delivery

Economic Transformation through BER

BER and Investment Promotion

Creating better business environments for Micro and Small Enterprises

Policies that promote SME participation in public procurement

BER and Labour Productivity

Gender-Sensitive BER

BER for inclusive business

Territorial and sectoral perspectives on BER

Quality infrastructure

Results Measurement in BER

How BER can be complemented with Industrial Policy support

The Political Economy of BER

How BER can promote formalisation

Original Donor Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform, 2008

Based on a series of conferences to identify areas of consensus and debate among donor and development agencies, the BEWG published Practical Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform in 2008. It represents the consolidated views of DCED member agencies on the key dimensions and principles of business environment reform support and summarises a number of contested issues. This seminal document is available in four languages.

In 2010-11, the DCED conducted country-level reviews of donors’ programmes and practices bench-marked against the good practice summarised in the Donor Guidance.

Ongoing work

Currently, the Group focuses on several themes, including:

  • New and emerging trends in Public Private Dialogue
  • BER in fragile contexts
  • BER and COVID-19 responses
  • Dealing with firm informality
  • Enhancing the use of evidence; results measurement in BER programming
  • BER and climate change – sustainability
  • Continuing the BER webinar series

More information