Responding to Justine Greening’s speech on how the Department for International Development plans to build on its work with British businesses ODI’s Head of Private Sector and Markets Karen Ellis said:
“This is a clear statement of intent from Justine Greening. Ramping up engagement with the private sector should yield development dividends and that’s why it is so important to have the right framework. We should welcome responsible investment guidelines – these should hopefully ensure businesses abroad behave in a way which is consistent with competitive markets and discourages market dominance and monopolies in developing countries. They should also ensure that firms support their suppliers in developing countries, to help them meet the costs of any environmental and labour standards that are introduced down the supply chain.
If DFID wants to become a hub for investors looking to operate in developing countries then they should do a lot more to encourage business involvement in programme design and country strategy. There are good examples of how this can be done through trading corridors or through public private alliances like that launched by Barack Obama during the G8 last year to promote food security. In return businesses can do much to contribute to public policy aims like the Millennium Development Goals, through engagement tackling issues as diverse as education and skills development, to post-conflict peace-building, to gender and family based violence. “