Business-in-DevThe private sector – business as a partner in development


UK Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, Global Partnership champion of business as a partner for development, hosted this session on “The Private Sector and the Next Global Development Agenda.”

This session sought to build on three key areas articulated at the Davos World Economic Forum in January 2014:

  • Multi-stakeholder public-private dialogue
  • Catalytic partnerships to create shared value
  • Innovative finance for development

Multi-stakeholder public-private dialogue is crucial for building a policy environment for sustainable development and is the starting point for broader development co-operation between public and private actors.

Catalytic partnerships to create shared value involve aligning business and development objectives to maximise development impact and support inclusive growth. Many companies are changing their business models to emphasise financial inclusion, supply chain management, training and vocational education. Scaling up such innovations will make co-operation more effective and enable new partnerships delivering both development and investment returns.

Innovative finance for development. Smarter public-private financial partnerships are creating new development finance opportunities. Understanding what private investors need to scale up, learning from successes, and leveraging scarce public resources can help unleash significant financing. Using public sector funds as investment guarantees and repayment mechanisms for upfront private finance, developing local capital markets, supporting risk-reducing financial mechanisms, or establishing development impact bonds are can all contribute to delivering the post-2015 agenda.

Plenary participants included:

  • Betty Maina, CEO of the Kenyan Manufacturers Association and UN post-2015 High Level Panel member
  • Suma Chakrabati, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • Helen Hai, CEO of China Africa Consulting

Young entrepreneurs Sabeen Mahmud from Pakistan and Karma Yonten from Bhutan also gave spotlight talks on a setting up innovative, sustainable businesses.


To meet the challenge of ending absolute poverty, we need more effective partnerships between governments, businesses and civil society.

At the same time, we need balance. We must understand how all actors can step up contributions to development while maintaining international standards and governance principles. We must maximize the private sector’s development impact; increase trust and accountability among development actors; and help integrate sustainable development into business models.

The Global Partnership can help understand which types of public-private dialogues, partnerships, and finance models have worked so far and what may be constraining us from scaling them up. It can also build consensus around the partnerships required to create shared value.

Click here to read the full to read the full concept note and here for the “Unleashing the power of business: A practical Roadmap to systematically engage business as a partner in development” background note.

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