USAID Announces New Private Sector Engagement Policy

Last week, USAID administrator, Mark Green, announced a major cultural and operational transformation to expand USAID’s engagement with the private sector to achieve outcomes of shared interest and shared value. USAID’s new Private-Sector Engagement Policy announcement was an agency-wide call to action, and a mandate to work hand-in-hand with the private sector to design and deliver development and humanitarian programs across all sectors, while harnessing their resources to open markets and other opportunities for U.S. businesses. This new policy signals an intentional shift to pursue market-based approaches and investment as a means to accelerate countries’ progress on the Journey to Self-Reliance.

We’ve included the full text of Administrator Green’s announcement below because we’re excited others are seeing the benefit of catalyzing the private sector to meet the challenges of the water crisis. Water4 supports 18 mission-oriented water service enterprises across 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. They work every day to generate revenue while providing affordable water-services sustainably to vulnerable people in the the most remote parts of the world.

Let us know what you think about USAID’s new policy in the comments.

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USAID Announcement on Private-Sector Engagement Policy
December 12, 2018

I am pleased to share with you our new policy on private-sector engagement. This policy comes at an exciting time in which leaders in both the public and private sectors are figuring out how to take the unique capabilities of each and apply them to problems that neither could address fully on their own. This engagement can make addressing challenges that once seemed insurmountable very real and achievable.

Private-sector engagement is fundamental to our goal to end the need for foreign assistance. This policy is a call to action for staff from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and our partners to embrace market-based approaches as a more-sustainable way to support communities in achieving development and humanitarian outcomes at scale. This is based on our premise that private enterprise is one of the most- powerful forces for lifting lives, strengthening communities, and accelerating countries to self-reliance.

I believe the future of international development is enterprise- driven. “Enterprise-driven development” means aligning with private enterprises as co-creators of market-oriented solutions, with shared risk and shared reward. It means recognizing the value of engaging the private sector in development and humanitarian assistance to help shape solutions that achieve sustained impact and can carry forward long after USAID’s support has ended, and reorienting our investments to open markets for U.S. firms.

Implementing this policy will require a major cultural and operational transformation in the way USAID and our partners work. We must commit to deepening our collaboration with the private sector in seeking market-based approaches across all areas of our work, from economic growth, power, agriculture, and global health to humanitarian assistance, women’s empowerment, education, and addressing crisis and conflict.

The approach will require us to adjust our role. In many ways, we will be steering, more than rowing, in an effort to create a force-multiplier that will allow us to work together with the private sector to achieve greater impact than either of us could achieve alone. With a focus on building a freer, more peaceful, and more prosperous world, true to our democratic values, this policy represents an important first part of a major transformation in the way we operate. Ultimately, increasing our collaboration with the private sector across all areas of our work will make us better development and humanitarian professionals, bring us closer to our purpose of ending the need for foreign assistance, and provide greater opportunities for American businesses.

Ambassador Mark Green
Administrator, USAID