The Center for International and Private Enterprise (CIPE) in the Sahel works with regional bodies and organizations like the G5 Sahel, to address the multidimensional areas of development and the promotion of democracy, such as reinforcing security measures, bolstering the regional economy, and improving civil society engagement. CIPE’s primary mission has been to strengthen participation and partnership with the private sector, women, youth, and members of the civil society.
To reflect on the achievements of CIPE’s programs in the Sahel since their inception in 2018, consider areas of improvements, and establish a way forward, CIPE launched a result-oriented evaluation of its intervention.
CIPE’s role and context of mission
Due to the Sahel’s unprecedented security crisis across the diverse region, economic development has been amplified as a viable strategy for inclusive and sustainable growth. Promoting the private sector and reforms to the business environment is essential to sustainable development, but faces challenges due to regional insecurity, resulting in a vicious cycle of job losses, market abandonment, and payment incapacity, weakening the regional financial system. Furthermore the security situation in the central Sahel (Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger) continues to deteriorate with the expansion of criminal groups, cross border conflict. This deterioration was worsened by the COVID-19 health crisis, limiting the mobilization of scarce resources in rural areas, and the war in Ukraine, increasing concerns of humanitarian crisis due to food insecurity.
Alongside the G5 Sahel, CIPE has developed and supported a participatory and inclusive approach in its programming, by bringing together private sector associations, research centers, and regional leaders to promote a public-private dialogue to promote security and economic development, and the establishment of a structured dialogue mechanism within the Executive Secretariat of the G5 Sahel. This process was launched during the Ouagadougou Conference in January 2018, and reaffirmed during the Nouakchott Conference in December 2019, culminating in the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between CIPE and the G5 Sahel in 2020. The G5 Sahel/CIPE Memorandum of Understanding works to operationalize a structured framework of public-private regional dialogue and offer subsequent recommendations to the Sahel Business Coalition.
CIPE’s 2-level evaluation seeks to capitalize on the learning of the program and ensure that private sector expectations are considered within the Coalition from internal and external perspectives over the two phases of the project: Phase I (identification phase, 2018-2019) and Phase II (development phase, 2020-2022). To do so, CIPE first ordered an external evaluation completed by a non-partisan expert who was tasked to review the achievements of the program since its inception and to provide with recommendations for an amelioration of the intervention. The evaluation revolved around the relevance and effectiveness of the programmatic approach, the relevance of a public-private dialogue in the G5 Sahel context, and the sustainability of the results. Additionally, CIPE surveyed members of the Sahel Business Coalition for their opinion on CIPE’s activities and the work accomplished thus far by the coalition. Both evaluations have been conducted independently from each other.
The results of the internal evaluation had three core findings:
- Unanimous agreement on the importance and relevance of the CIPE-G5 Sahel program around the need for private sector participation in development and economic policy reforms for peace and security in the region.
- Satisfaction with the program despite systemic barriers (country instability, COVID-19 pandemic, and changes in Coalition member structures), but maintains the requirement to find solutions the avoid political and security risks for coalition members.
- Calls for accelerated establishment of a public-private dialogue mechanism with the G5 Sahel, in direct liaison with ministerial decision-making bodies and Heads of State for economic reform and partnership with the private sector.
The external evaluation found that public-private dialogue is a relevant priority, but highlighted five areas of improvement to the program’s approach for coalition’s building:
- Focus support on “comprehensive” public-private dialogue plans to support advocacy, highlight priorities for the regional level and mobilize national public actors to support the G5 Sahel approach.
- Request that the G5 Sahel Secretariat fully assume its role in mobilizing the private sector through a structured dialogue platform, supporting reform for its development, and develop partnerships to promote regional and international private investment for IPP, instead of remaining a passive observer.
- Support the integration of a G5 Sahel regional commission on business climate within the framework of the Sahel Business Coalition supported by CIPE and under the supervision of the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat.
- Continue to include and empower young people (70% of the population of the Sahel) and women (51.5% of the population), and micro-enterprises in addition to Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs), which are central to the stability of the region. The evaluation acknowledged CIPE’s work to include women and youth but ask for a more specified approach.
- Continue the development of associative leadership and the professionalization of civil society organizations, especially the training of trainers’ approach.
Participants to the internal evaluation were selected among prominent members of the Sahel Business Coalition, and originating from the five countries of the G5 Sahel. All agreed on the pertinence of the action, and provided with the following recommendations:
- An effective public-private regional dialogue requires 4 components:
- A real and displayed will of both parties, with a motivated commitment from the G5 Sahel Executive Secretary and member organizations of the coalition;
- Inter-private dialogue to agree on shared priorities and approach;
- A bottom-up approach, that is, from countries to the region in order to involve different stakeholders and ensure ownership of the issues;
- Capacity building of private actors in advocacy, coalition management and collective action
- A global approach is more relevant than a sectoral approach even if thematic priority-based subcommittees are needed.
- A formal and structured institutional mechanism is essential for achieving results, hence the importance of having a public-private dialogue framework in the G5 Sahel in conjunction with other bodies of the organization.
Recommendations and Next Steps:
The evaluation established 5 priority proposals for the public-private dialogue program moving forward.
- Continue the work undertaken with scaling through both the continuity of technical support to the coalition members, and the expansion of coalition members for more representativeness and coverage (especially the rural world and the informal sector).
- Accompany the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat to draft the framework for the creation and governance of a sub-regional public private dialogue mechanism that integrates with decision-making bodies.
- Support financially and technically the operationalization of the public-private dialogue mechanism of the G5 Sahel with the implementation of a strategy of continuity post- CIPE program.
- Support the structures of 5 G5 Sahel research projects in order to ensure their full participation and impact in the process of the public-private dialogue in the Sahel.
- Continue to reinforce the capacities and network of the stakeholders to build sustainable foundation for the durability of the coalition and the development of the private sector
The third phase of the program (operationalization phase 2022-2024) will learn from the results of the evaluation and adopt the proposed recommendations. The objectives of this phase are 1) the establishment of a structured dialogue mechanism between the private sector and the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat, and 2) the rationalization of national dialogue platforms so that the private sector can speak with one voice when proposing recommendations for democratic and economic reforms.
CIPE is proud of the work it has completed in this innovative coalition and collaboration and looks forward to the opportunities and potential in future phases of this project.
Read the full evaluation report, available in French.