Implementing the EU's private sector strategy: Where to start?

By Manola De Vos 22 June 2015

Women sort shea nuts in Mali. How can the EU successfully engage the private sector in development? Photo by: European Union

In recent years, private sector involvement in development projects sponsored by the European Union has been on the rise — growing both in volume and scope.

Upheld for the first time in the Agenda for Change — the bloc's blueprint for development aid programming — the EU’s drive to leverage private finance in development has since then been reaffirmed in numerous policy papers and public statements.

Published in  May 2014, the European Commission’s communication on “A Stronger Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Developing Countries” is the most detailed policy framework for enhanced, structured engagement of EU aid programs with the private sector.

But more than one year on, fundamental questions remain about how the EU should go about operationalizing it. Although the communication was largely branded as an action-oriented plan — with 12 concrete areas in which the private sector can complement EU aid efforts —  its actual execution remains an open-ended question.

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About the author

Devos manola
Manola De Vos

Manola De Vos is a development analyst for Devex. Based in Manila, she contributes to the Development Insider and Money Matters newsletters. Prior to joining Devex, Manola worked in conflict analysis and political affairs for the United Nations, International Crisis Group and the European Union.

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