Jeske van Seters and Sebastian Grosse-Puppendahl, Editorial - ECDPM Great Insights magazine, Spring 2018 (volume 7, issue 2).
When discussing development cooperation policy and action in 2018, it is all about leveraging: leveraging the private sector, leveraging private finance, leveraging investments by companies and corporations. More broadly it is about leveraging resources, skills and knowledge the private sector can bring to the table to support and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By now, there is broad recognition that the vast majority of jobs and investments is provided by the private sector, as it plays a critical role, when it comes to production, investment, innovation, technology, services and finance provision. Hence, it can act as a fundamental actor promoting and contributing to sustainable, inclusive development and prosperity for all.
However, a responsible and inclusive private sector is neither a given nor an end in itself but rather one of the most powerful and important means to achieve sustainable outcomes and development, as enshrined in the 2030 Agenda. This issue of Great Insights brings together many perspectives and insights on approaches and instruments to leverage private investments that are in line with the SDGs, while recognising the need for financial returns for private actors and investors.
The articles zoom in on ways to make (core) business activities and investments more responsible, inclusive and sustainable and using scarce public (aid) resources to encourage and trigger private investments. They clearly show that ‘the’ private sector is a very diverse rather than homogeneous group, which needs to be properly understood. The articles also emphasise and illustrate the importance of businesses, governments, development banks and finance institutions (DFIs) and civil society, to exchange and collaborate in various ways, while taking into account differences in mandates, drivers and incentives.
It is clear from the articles that doing things differently and with more impact to achieve the SDGs requires to step up ambitions and risk levels. It is also not just a question of finance and the leverage ratio —moving from billions to trillions— but also of quality and the right type of investments and interventions that are both additional and non-distortive, anchored in local realities.
As always, we hope you enjoy reading this issue of Great Insights, and welcome your comments and suggestions.
Jeske van Seters, Head of the Private Sector Engagement team of ECDPM’s
Economic and Agricultural Transformation programme and Sebastian Grosse
Puppendahl, Policy Officer in the Trade, Investment and Finance team of ECDPM’s
Economic and Agricultural Transformation programme
This article was published in Great Insights Volume 7, Issue 2. Spring 2018