Effective legal and regulatory reforms are key to improving governance and creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem conducive to economic growth and shared prosperity. Yet in many countries passing and implementing new laws and regulations remains a top-down process that receives little input from stakeholders who are directly affected.
All too often such reforms, even if they appear promising, remain on paper only since they lack broader ownership and support. In order to make the reform process more transparent, accountable, and fruitful, governments need to involve various segments of the society in the reform process. That involvement is particularly crucial when it comes to private sector organizations given that they represent the broader business community – the backbone of economic growth.
This crucial multi-stakeholder engagement process of public-private dialogue (PPD) was the topic of the recent 7th PPD Global Workshop in Frankfurt, Germany, co-organized by the World Bank Institute (WBI), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
The workshop gathered 145 participants from 41 countries, including the donor community, government representatives, and the private sector. It focused on key issues in designing, conducting, and evaluating PPDs, with experiences and approaches on what works shared among the participants. CIPE and several of its current and past partner organizations from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Senegal took part in this exciting event.
My colleague, CIPE’s Senior Knowledge Manager Kim Bettcher, moderated a panel on the role of chambers and associations in PPD sustainability with panelists discussing experiences from Burkina Faso, Egypt, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I had the pleasure of introducing CIPE’s new joint initiative with WBI, an interactive hub for the global PPD community of practice (www.publicprivatedialogue.org) that will serve as the space for learning, exchanging ideas, and advancing best practices.
The diversity of country conditions, particular PPD structures, and specific policy goals that emerged from the wealth of knowledge shared at the workshop emphasized that when it comes to policy dialogue no one size fits all. It can be structured or ad hoc, conducted at the national or sub-national level, public sector or private sector driven, focused on broad economy-wide issues or sector specific.
Regardless to its particular form or focus, though, a successful PPD has to rely on common principles such as transparency, inclusiveness, and evidence-based discussion. It also relies on commitment and capacity of the key stakeholders – the government and the business community. Strengthening that capacity of the private sector in order to successfully advocate for policy reforms has been CIPE’s core role in its three decades of work with chambers of commerce and business associations around the world.
The gathering in Frankfurt was a great opportunity to meet others who work in the PPD space and exchange best practices. I look forward to continued sharing of lessons from CIPE’s experience with the global PPD community of practice – and so should you! While the PPD hub is currently being re-designed to make it more accessible, you can follow the latest developments and contribute on Facebook and Twitter.
Anna Nadgrodkiewicz is Director of Multiregional Programs at CIPE.