Here at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Moscow, everyone is sold on the importance of creating entrepreneurial ecosystems. There is no shortage of ideas for doing this, and the quest has risen to the level of public policy. As Jonathan Ortmans has noted, governments are now interacting with grassroots networks that are driving bottom-up ecosystem building.
Entrepreneurship advocates should pay close attention to the sphere of public-private dialogue (PPD) as a powerful means for cracking the ecosystem code in each community. Public-private dialogue is a space for discovering policy solutions that are targeted, mutually agreed, and sustainable.
Long established as a tool for regulatory reform and market development around the world, PPD has the potential to uncover policy solutions for entrepreneurship, whether it’s policy for financing, taxes, innovation, education, or any other aspect of the enabling environment.
Participants at the Frankfurt workshop.
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.
The private sector is a key actor in efforts to promote economic growth, reform the business climate and strengthen democratic policymaking worldwide. Dialogue is a key part of the Busan process, which recognizes that the for-profit private sector is a central driver of development and emphasizes the importance of inclusive dialogue for building a policy environment conducive to sustainable development.” Businesses possess the know-how of economic conditions, obstacles and opportunities for growth, while governments have the means to pass business-friendly legislation.
From a democratic point of view, a vibrant private contribution to dialogue expands participation in policymaking by creating space for civic engagement in governance, improves the quality of business representation and supplements the performance of democratic institutions.
Building upon its longstanding experience in the field, CIPE has been invited to participate in the 7th Annual Public Private Dialogue Global Workshop organized by the World Bank, BMZ-The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and GIZ in Frankfurt, Germany.
Senior Knowledge Manager Kim Bettcher will moderate a session on long term public private dialogue sustainability and the role of chambers of commerce and business associations. Director of Multiregional Programs Anna Nadgrodkiewicz will make a presentation on a new initiative between the CIPE, the World Bank Institute, and development partners on building an open and collaborative platform for public private dialogue resources.
CIPE has extensive experience in advancing policy dialogue around the world and supports market-oriented reform and private sector development by mobilizing representative business associations and strengthening their capacity to advocate for policy solutions. CIPE also invests in business association development that enables effective dialogue. Some regional success stories in public private dialogue are outlined in more detail below.
The inaugural meeting of Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Business Caucus
By CIPE Kabul Staff
Entrepreneurs and businesspeople in Afghanistan face one of the most difficult business environments in the world, so close cooperation between the private sector and government is essential to putting the country’s economy back on track.
On November 16, CIPE capped off more than two years of work by organizing the inaugural meeting of Afghanistan’s Parliamentary Business Caucus, which brings together business-friendly members of parliament (MPs) and representatives of the private sector. This new body will provide a platform to discuss issues of concern to the business community and ways in which the private sector and MPs can work together to make sure that Afghanistan passes key legislation to spur private sector development.
The first meeting brought together 18 MPs, including leading parliamentarians and members of relevant committees, with eight representatives of leading business associations: FACT (the Federation of Afghanistan Craftsmen and Traders), the Afghan Builders’ Association, the Industrialists’ Association, the Fruit Exporters’ Association, the Carpet Exporters’ Guild, the Afghan Chamber, and the Peace Through Business Network – a new women’s association.
“The promotion of the private sector is critical for creating employment opportunities, economic growth and the development of Afghanistan,” said Andrew Wilson, CIPE Deputy Director for Strategic Planning. Wilson affirmed CIPE’s support for, and cooperation with, the Business Caucus. CIPE Kabul staff – Mohammad Nasib, Mohammad Naim, and Ibrahim Hassan – served as moderators, discussing the CIPE-supported National Business Agenda (NBA) and the effort to create the Caucus.
A public-private dialogue session with President Macky Sall in Senegal. CIPE partners organize such sessions in countries around the world.
In a webinar on July 11, Elias M. Dewah, former Executive Director of the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry, and Manpower (BOCCIM), and other panelists shared prominent lessons from their experience with public-private dialogue initiatives in Africa and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Here are some of the highlights, addressed to private sector participants in advocacy.
- Be consistent and persistent in advocacy and dialogue to overcome government inertia.
- Remain independent from government but work with officials in an advocacy capacity.
- Be proactive and constructive. Don’t just criticize but offer alternative policy solutions.
- Come to the table with well-researched evidence. Link up with independent think tanks as needed.
- Be representative and inclusive of various sectors, not just a few elite businesses.
- Speak with one voice at all times.
- Move from issues involving transactions to systemic change.
- Make use of existing legal frameworks that provide for transparency and consultation.
- Find the most effective point of engagement in the legislative process – this could be in the drafting stage.
- Evaluate the impact. Look beyond dialogue processes at what is actually achieved.
On June 11 the World Bankreleased a report titled, “Moldova: Policy Priorities for Private Sector Development.” The report highlights business constraints and proposals for reform in five key areas: customs administration, tax administration, business regulation (licenses, authorizations, permits, and inspections), competition framework, and access to finance. These priorities are in line with the National Business Agenda (NBA) prepared by CIPE partners in Moldova. In fact, the World Bank report makes multiple references to the 2012-2013 NBA document, citing it as “reflecting the views of a broad range of private sector stakeholders.”
The NBA is not only a document. To prepare it, a network of over 30 business associations and chambers of commerce from across Moldova go through a well-structured process that includes building broad consensus on priorities, analyzing the legal framework for each issue, and developing joint proposals for reform. Using this methodology, the chambers and associations utilize the NBA framework to prepare for a constructive dialogue with government. CIPE has partnered with leading Moldovan think tank Institute for Development and Social Initiative (IDSI) to build the capacity of NBA members to jointly articulate not only the key barriers businesses face, but also concrete proposals to overcome them.
In addition, CIPE and IDSI have been providing assistance to the NBA member organizations to create a private sector platform. Today this platform is well-known among policymakers, the broader business community, and civil society as the NBA network. The member organizations are committed to developing a partnership with government through public-private dialogue. The goal is to work together on improving the economy, creating more jobs, and improving the climate for doing business. The voice of the NBA network is especially important in the reform process as it represents the views of the small and medium-sized domestic enterprises that comprise a majority of the Moldovan private companies.
Please join us this Thursday, July 11, from 9:30-11:30 AM EST for a free webinar on Public-Private Dialogue with Elias M. Dewah, former Executive Director of the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry, and Manpower (BOCCIM).
Dewah will present key lessons and impact examples based on his experiences using public-private dialogue as an advocacy tool.
We’ll also hear about PPD programs in other countries from CIPE staff experts and partners. Register below to learn techniques in framing private sector priorities and establishing credibility with policymakers.
Click here to reserve your seat.