Public-private partnerships for development for a greater impact

Private investments have a decisive impact on the development of the less developed and emerging countries. By allying itself strategically with private-sector partners, the SDC gains access to the necessary skills and resources to increase its impact on development. At the same time, the SDC encourages companies, based on its own experience, to take responsibility for their social and environmental impact.

The action of governments on their own is not enough to promote sustainable development and equitable growth in order to help reduce poverty. The development agencies, such as the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), must play a key role in bringing all the parties concerned on board to act. The private sector is one such actor whose impact on development is decisive.

Private companies are aware that a stable environment and sustainable development are necessary to ensure the long-term profitability of their business. Even if they pursue different interests, the SDC and private companies therefore have a common objective: to promote sustainable social, environmental and economic development on a large scale.

The Federal Council dispatch to Parliament on Switzerland's international cooperation in 2013-2016 presents public-private partnerships for development (PPPDs) as one of the pillars on which Switzerland must base its international cooperation. The SDC's response is two-fold: promoting a strategic dialogue with private-sector actors in Switzerland on questions concerning sustainable development, and engaging in operational partnerships with Swiss or local companies in countries where it is active to achieve a greater impact.

Diversity of partners and methods of cooperation

PPPDs provide access to new knowledge, generate innovation, and mobilise additional resources. They also enlarge the range of partners, by including for example small- and medium-sized enterprises, local companies and multinationals, foundations and financial institutions.

Partnerships with the private sector take various forms, including services, the provision of financial resources, expertise and innovation. The SDC determines the appropriate approach according to the objective its intends to achieve. In all cases, the activities it pursues must have the potential to provide a solution that none of the actors would be able to achieve on their own and be beneficial for development. The SDC will step up its involvement in PPPDs whenever such an approach enables it to achieve its development objectives in a significant, effective and more rapid manner.