Overview of the Business Environment Working Group (BEWG)

Objectives of the 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.

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.)

Key achievements

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

Full list of of BEWG publications on specific aspects of BER

This section compiles DCED guidance on specific aspects of BER, as well as technical working papers and case studies, which have often informed the process of developing guidance. It is organised by sub-themes.

Investment Promotion:

BER for Micro and Small Enterprises:

Preferential procurement for SMEs:

BER and Labour Productivity:

Gender-Sensitive BER:

BER for inclusive business:

Territorial and sectoral perspectives on BER:

Quality infrastructure:

Results Measurement:

Industrial Policy:

Political Economy issues:

Dealing with the informal economy:

Original Donor Guidance on Supporting Business Environment Reform

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 benchmarked against the good practice summarised in the Donor Guidance.

Ongoing work

Currently, the Group focuses on several themes, including:

  • Working paper on BER and Investment promotion
  • Working paper on BER for small and micro enterprises
  • Policy Brief on BER and Labour Productivity
  • Policy Brief on BER and Public Procurement for SMEs
  • The group also plans a series of webinars to disseminate their work.

More information