Delivered by Patience Sakuringwa - Executive Secretary, Zambia Chamber of Small and Medium Business Associations (ZCSMBA)
Honorable Members of Parliament
Your Excellencies Ambassadors, Heads of Missions and Development Agencies
Representatives of Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations
Distinguished Invited Guests
It is my honor and priviledge to present a summary report on private sector participation at the High Level Forum in Busan as well as to give private sectors way forward on aid effectiveness and development in the local context.
From 29th November to 1st December, 2011 over 3000 delegates met in Busan, Korea to review progress on the implementation of the principles of the Paris Declaration at the Fourth High Level Forum. The Forum came together to discuss the relevance of the aid effectiveness agenda in the context of the evolving development landscape.
The Forum sought to create a broader base for partnerships that will include a wider range of development stakeholders. And most importantly for the first time the forum provided an opportunity for the role of the private sector as a driver of catalytic partnerships, corporate sustainability and innovative solutions for development to be acknowledged by all stakeholders. In this regard a series of specific private sector events around private sector engagement were arranged that built on each other and culminated into the Ministerial Plenary session and the outcome declaration.
In summary the discussions focused on the private sector being an engine of growth, innovation and investment in developing countries and the role of private sector in development.
Sessions discussed public private sector cooperation as an area of critical importance to achieving development goals and reflected on some of specific aspects of effectiveness as well as actors and approaches.
The private sector was identified as a key bridge to provide resources for development projects that Governments did not have adequate resources for. Discussions highlighted the fact that the private sector is an important source for leveraging funds for development that can accelerate poverty reduction and boost sustainable economic, social and environmental development.
There was a call for greater cooperation between the public and private sector through new and existing channels of engagement such as consultative for a, workshops, roundtable discussions, representation of the private sector on regulatory boards and committees as dialogue allows public sector to come up with better products. Other forms of engagement that were proposed for strengthening were direct core businesses activities, Public Private Partnerships, Social Responsibility activities and cross sector or multi stakeholder partnerships for development.
Recommendations made were that;
I. Capacities be built in the area of Business Development Support such as training, finance, technology, ICT and advocacy and lobbying.
II. That private sector should speak with one voice at local, national, regional and international levels and this was the challenge poised to the delegates present, to map out a way forward on working together so as to allow a conducive environment for knowledge sharing. Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations should be strengthened.
III. Private sector must be included in country strategies
IV. Skills development should be tailored to labor
V. The private sector should be leveraged for funding for development
VI. Innovative financing instruments should be designed for SMEs; innovative capacity needs to be cultivated for products such as micro insurance, mobile banking (gives rural people access to money.
The Key overriding recommendation was the strengthening of public – private policy dialogue through consultative processes on both sides, that is the private sector and the public sector.
What is The Way Forward
In the local context the private sector considers the engagement and inclusion of the private sector on the aid effectiveness and development agenda as critical to translating government commitments into implementation actions on the ground. The most effective way for the private sector to make its contributions is as part of an integrated, long term strategic approach that involves national governments, international institutions and other development agencies.
Issues relating to partnerships and enabling policies -
As private sector we would like to emphasize that the many possible initiatives the private sector might undertake can only be effective within a broad strategy for public private policy dialogue that brings together all stakeholders. We consider that dialogue is critical, and that there are important untapped opportunities for partnerships involving the private sector, governments, international organisations, NGOs, and cooperating partners.
Capacity to create partnerships and coordinate action at the local level in support of economic development must be reinforced. The private sector can contribute but cannot do this alone. All stakeholders need to commit to collaboration and partnership. Ideological barriers that have impeded such partnerships in the past must be overcome.
Private sector is about productivity and in our efforts to enhance productivity and develop sustainable value chains in partnership with other stakeholders, we in the private sector count very much on government cooperation. National governments in particular have a central role in creating the right stimulus and regulatory conditions to unleash the potential of the land and the private sector.
Governments must create an enabling environment through science-based regulation, increased investments on R&D as well as financial support and infrastructure development and optimization. We in the private sector would like to see strong commitments by governments to establishing fair, transparent and predictable regulatory frameworks so both local and international companies can confidently invest in the economy.
Government has already begun work in this area under the PSDRP in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in which reforms are being worked on in consultation with the private sector in the areas of public – private dialogue, taxation, ICT and telecommunication, energy and other issues related to the cost of doing business, in which some progress has been made.
Despite the absence of a joint policy framework with private sector some mechanisms for policy dialogue between Government and private sector have been put in place such as the Zambia Investment Business Advisory Council (ZIBAC) and the Zambia Business Council (ZBC) which are for a chaired by His Excellency the President himself , the Private Sector Development Steering Committee chaired by the Secretary to the Cabinet, the Sector Advisory Groups chaired by the permanent secretaries and the technical working groups co-chaired by the private sector. There is of course still room and need for other platforms to be created.
On the part of the private sector there is a clear need for improved coordination and cooperation within the private sector and we are committed at working together so as to reduce fragmentation of the private sector to ease dialogue between private sector and public sector.
In this regard the private sector has already taken steps towards forming a structure that will address and represent all private sector stakeholders be it associations or businesses. This is being done in a consultative process with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry that has just recently brought together the private sector to dialogue on various issues amongst which a key agenda item was effective private sector coordination for public private dialogue. As a result clear targets and timeframes have been set for dealing with identified issues and challenges as well as short, medium and long term measures to be achieved in the coming years.
Finally, as private sector the companies and enterprises we represent are action oriented. It is important to translate the good intentions expressed during the Busan conference and for a such as this one into concrete actions and timelines for implementation. We call on and stand ready to work with Government and other development partners to promote, coordinate and facilitate local and global actions leading to improved aid effectiveness for economic development.
Once again I thank you for the honor and priviledge accorded to the private sector to be a part of the Busan delegation, my only appeal is that more places be accorded to the private sector in future delegations to level the playing field.