On November 1, CSIS hosted a launch event for the release of their report “Seizing the Opportunity in Public-Private Partnerships” by Dan Runde and Holly Wise. The event featured IGD Leadership Council members E. Neville Isdell, Former Chairman & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company and Henrietta H. Fore, Former Director, U.S. Foreign Assistance and Former Administrator, USAID, who provided the introduction. IGD’s Senior Director for Policy, Jeri Jensen participated in the discussion panel that concluded the event.
The paper sought to address the following question: “Why are partnerships still a marginal activity at most U.S. government development agencies despite an Administration policy calling for greater reliance on partnerships as a fundamental part of our development strategy?” As Neville Isdell pointed out, companies are increasingly looking to use partnerships in their strategies to enter frontier markets. He proposed a number of possible solutions to help the U.S. government engage in more partnerships, reiterating the importance of all stakeholders looking toward sustainable solutions, thinking long-term and breaking down silos between the government, corporate and nonprofit communities. Henrietta Fore laid out an aspirational vision in her opening remarks: What if 50 percent of USAID’s budget was leveraged through partnerships with the private sector?
In the discussion that followed, panelists called on government agencies to think boldly about new approaches that more actively attract private capital and engage the core business of companies. A number of specific steps were mentioned to ensure that companies are more equal partners with the government when it comes to aligning resources to support development, such as engaging with companies throughout the project development process, highlighting commercially viable opportunities, and creating more flexible and coordinated government tools that could help reach the tipping point for particular investments.
You can find audio from the event here, or watch the video below: