“Private sector” appears 18 times in the outcome document from last year’s UN financing for development conference in Addis Ababa—exactly the same number of times as “international cooperation.” In part, this is driven by the financial shortfall traditional donors face in delivering this ambitious agenda, and partly it reflects the different skills our public and private sectors possess. Now, one year into the SDGs, where are those ideas that bring private sector ingenuity and capital into achieving the development goals? In this edition of the CGD Podcast, we'll introduce you to one of them.
CGD Policy Blogs
Why the Private Sector Should Harness Brands’ Market Power: "Stop Funding Hate” Campaign Makes Progress as Lego Withdraws Promotions from UK Tabloid
There are two good reasons to harness the market power of iconic brands. First, policymakers and researchers with evidence-based arguments on migration are struggling to combat the hateful rhetoric of the tabloids. Second, the private sector has an important role to play in ensuring global economic prosperity. Among other things, it should use its power to fight the misinformation, ignorance, and hate directed towards the world’s most vulnerable people.
Recently CGD hosted the Second Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, which focused on beyond-aid approaches for women’s economic empowerment, with particular emphasis on private sector engagement. CGD experts have written about how international organizations and national agencies should examine and correct gender biases in the design and delivery of their strategies for financial inclusion. But while public sector interventions are crucial for promoting women’s economic empowerment, the panelists pointed out that the private sector is in many ways better equipped to provide opportunities for women to grow their businesses, investments, and incomes. Here’s our takeaway.
In an ideal world, development finance institutions (DFIs) should focus on the biggest constraints for businesses in developing countries. This helps to expand their impact beyond a single project or investment, thereby producing more systemic benefits. However, this is a particularly challenging issue for many DFIs given their operating models, which are typically driven by investor priorities.
Lifting the trade and investment embargo on Cuba is a laudable policy objective that would allow Cubans better access to American goods and services. It might also give American businesses a boost, including from places that could do with one, like rural Louisiana. Changing the law will be an uphill struggle unless November’s elections transform Congress. But even if Congress can agree, changes to the law might not be sufficient to convince investors to go to Cuba.
Gender Equality as a Private Sector Priority: A Triple Win for Companies, Consumers, and Developing Countries
Last week CGD hosted our first in a series of events focused on “beyond aid” approaches to promoting gender equality.
In case you missed them, here are the most popular blog posts from 2015, as determined by our readers.
The first thing we should be asking is why now in particular, since conditions have not really changed much in the past few months. For example, back in September, there were large uncertainties in the global economy. China’s economic slowdown was causing alarm. Volatility in international capital markets was high. The appreciation of the US dollar was hurting US exports, which could (yet) mean slower US economic growth. That was not the time for the US Federal Reserve to up interest rates. But now it is – and here’s why.
Bridge International Academies is an innovative education start-up working to provide schooling in some of Kenya's poorest urban areas (and, more recently, Uganda and Nigeria). The company is intensely focused on keeping overheads low, standardising everything from school buildings through lesson plans.
In his post, John Simon, a former CGD visiting fellow, politely disagreed with our suggestion that donors are mainly using the wrong instrument to support private-sector investment. John made some excellent points (which we urge you to read in full). And, as we stressed in our first post, we all agree that private investment is crucial for delivering social returns in developing countries.