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 support donor agencies in the institutional changes needed to engage business this way – including by enhancing risk management, programming and funding frameworks; creating appropriate staff roles and team structures; and promoting the necessary staff skills and cultural changes to facilitate PSE.
The Working Group, established in 2017, is chaired by Katie Sell Garcia of USAID.
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). In practice, the DCED’s Working Group notes that ‘developing an operational framework … necessarily implies a need to narrow down the most relevant PSE categories … and to draw pragmatic boundaries’ (DCED PSE WG, 2019).
For more information on different PSE strategies and modalities, and how these relate to other approaches for working with and through the private sector, see the Working Group’s operational framework (working document).
Key achievements of the Group
In addition to the recent products listed below, the Working Group has also organised several webinars and peer-learning workshops.
- Donor Engagement in Innovative Finance: Opportunities and Obstacles (DCED 2019). Provides a comprehensive introduction to, and overview of, the field.
- Minimising the risk of negative market distortions in PSE. A practical framework (DCED 2018) – reviews how PSE interventions may give rise to three types of negative market distortions and explores four practical solution areas: Designing against and measuring distortions; crowding in other commercial players; involving competition agencies and experts; and publishing information.
- How donors can support strategic private sector engagement. Programming innovations and organizational change (DCED 2017) – including insights from interviews with donor agencies as well as large international NGOs.
- Engaging the private sector through multi-stakeholder platforms (DCED 2017) – based on extensive interviews with DCED members, other platform participants and platform managers; and
- Overview of donor funds and facilities for partnering with business (DCED, 2017).
Current activities of the Group
The current focus of the Group is on peer learning and publications around themes of interest to members, including the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for PSE, demonstrating additionality, and Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). Organisational changes and systems to enable PSE are also being discussed in WG meetings.