Andris Piebalgs to private sector CEOs: Change the mentality at boardroom level

How has the new thinking around the idea of convergence and working with all stakeholders affected the work of the European Commission? What should partner organizations be doing differently? And how can development actors in the private sector show leadership in the years ahead?

“I think we have completely tried to embrace the change,” European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs told Devex on the sidelines of the World Convergences Forum 2013 in Paris. “Actually, we created a bit of change with our new policy change, because what we have been until then, we have been political on one side and a money-disbursing machine on the other side. So we united both.”

EuropeAid, he noted, increasingly focuses on results and engages with stakeholders, including the private sector, to promote inclusive growth in the developing world.

But he acknowledged that working with the private sector is more complicated as compared to collaborating with nongovernmental organizations, primarily because companies usually zero in on short-term profits. He argued that companies need to think that inclusive development “is also part of … their responsibility.”

Piebalgs also shared his views on the importance of good governance in fragile states, the merits of budget support as a means of implementation, and the example of the EU’s cooperation with Latin America as a model of transparency and traceability.

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About the author

  • Richard Jones

    In his role as Editorial Director Richard oversees content for digital series, reports and events, leading a talented team of writers and editors, conducting high-level video interviews and moderating panels at events. Previously partnerships editor and an associate editor at Devex, Richard brings to bear 15 years of experience as an editor in institutional communications, public affairs and international development. Based in Barcelona, his development experience includes stints in the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Ecuador, as well as extensive work travel in Africa and Asia.