Overview of the Private Sector Engagement Working Group

Objectives of the Group

Many donors aspire to have more equal, longer-term and strategic relationships with business in achieving results for the poor, complementing their traditional focus on bilateral work with governments.

The aim of the Private Sector Engagement Working Group is to enhance the ability of donor agency staff to engage with business in this way – based on appropriate operational systems and programming frameworks as well as appropriate staff roles, skills and organisational culture.

The Working Group, established in 2017, is chaired by Katie Sell Garcia of USAID, and Tobias Zeller of GIZ.

The OECD has proposed a very broad definition of PSE as ‘an activity that aims to engage the private sector for development results, and involves the active participation of the private sector’ (OECD, 2016). The DCED PSE Working Group in its Operational Framework (2019) focuses on two specific PSE strategies:

  • Engaging with, primarily large/ international, companies on equal terms to enhance the impact of their core business on the SDGs, e.g. through the joint development and financing of SDG-oriented business models or dialogue platforms on responsible business practices. In contrast, other approaches involving active private sector participation focus more on local business (e.g. MSD) or local business associations and government agencies (e.g. BER), primarily to generate inclusive and sustainable economic opportunities (SDG 8).
  • Engaging with the financial sector, to mobilise private finance for development, e.g. through blended finance instruments.

Key achievements of the Group

In addition to the recent products listed below, the Working Group has also organised several webinars and regular peer-learning workshops.

Current activities of the Group

Recent and ongoing focus areas of the Group include peer learning and publications around themes of interest to members, in particular:

  • how to promote Responsible Business Conduct through PSE, based on the 2022 DCED scoping paper
  • how to build staff capacity and incentives for PSE
  • how to demonstrate additionality in PSE, with an update of the DCED’s 2014 guidelines on the topic planned in the coming months
  • the short and long-term implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for PSE

More information