As the main employer in agriculture, the private sector constitutes the key source of investment in this field and provides essential financial and advisory services for agricultural producers also in developing countries. In fact, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation recognize the private sector as an indispensable partner that has a critical role to play in advancing the global development agenda. Therefore, it came as no surprise that private actors are been instrumental in driving increased transformation in the governance of food and agriculture sector on a global level by new technological, knowledge-based, financial and managerial resources and innovation.
The recognition of private sector operators’ role in the global development agenda has also paved the way to their partnerships with national government and development agencies. For example, through public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives for agribusiness development, there has been increasing effort to tap into business capabilities of the two sectors to fuel economic growth, innovation and job creation and explore their synergy. The USAID publication, Partnering for impact: USAID and the private sector, in 2016 acknowledges that working in partnership with private sector enables mobilization of private sector resources, bringing expertise and market-based solutions to improve social and economic conditions in developing countries. In the same year, FAO released its report titled ”Public-private partnership for agribusiness development” which has gathered case studies from developing countries along with evidence from field-based support to PPP initiatives for agribusiness development in Central America and Southeast Asia. The report identifies a number of potential benefits deriving from the combination of the operational and economic efficiency typical of the private sector with the public sector’s role as the creator of an enabling environment and regulator to ensure that social interests are considered. On the other hand, it lists specific challenges for the initiative, ranging from an unsupportive environment and design to operational/technical, financial and sustainability issues.
In the Global Donor Platform context, discussions on private sector engagement currently focus primarily on the inclusive agribusiness approach – or market-based initiatives largely driven by the private sector that explicitly aim to promote both economic growth, food security and nutrition. The wealth of practical and theoretical information on private sector partnerships highlighted in our web stories, publications and interactive webinar sessions, showcasing initiatives from the Platform’s members, explores best practices in engaging with the private sector and in contending with its associated challenges. For the latter, our members’ work specifically focuses on how to reduce the risks associated with this challenging business Environment.