Development Co-operation Report 2016

The Sustainable Development Goals as Business Opportunities

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The face of development has changed, with diverse stakeholders involved – and implicated – in what are more and more seen as global and interlinked concerns. At the same time, there is an urgent need to mobilise unprecedented resources to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The private sector can be a powerful promotor of sustainable development. Companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. The public sector can leverage the private sector contribution, helping to manage risk and providing insights into effective policy and practice. Yet in order to set the right incentives, a better understanding is needed of the enabling factors, as well as the constraints, for businesses and investors interested in addressing sustainable development challenges.

The Development Co-operation Report 2016 explores the potential and challenges of investing in developing countries, in particular through social impact investment, blended finance and foreign direct investment. The report provides guidance on responsible business conduct and outlines the challenges in mobilising and measuring private finance to achieve the SDGs.  Throughout the report, practical examples illustrate how business is already promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. Part II of the report showcases the profiles and performance of development co-operation providers, and presents DAC statistics on official and private resource flows.  


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Private sector development has become a key component of Dutch development co-operation since 2010, reflecting the priority that the government places on economic development in its development policy. The Netherlands has created new public-private partnerships (PPPs) to promote sustainable entrepreneurship and food security and facilities to support Dutch small and medium enterprise (SME) investments in emerging markets, such as the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) and the Credit Fund for Micro and Small Enterprises (MASSIF). The facility for development-relevant export transactions was also transformed into a grant facility to support developing countries in the development, implementation, operation and maintenance of public infrastructure. Furthermore, the Dutch Good Growth Fund was launched in 2014: a revolving fund which provides funding for inclusive growth in 68 least developed countries (LDCs) and middle-income countries (MICs) generated by Dutch and/or local SMEs. The government also seeks to spur innovation in private finance as shown, for example, by its support to the Health Insurance Fund of the Pharmaccess Foundation, which subsidises insurance premiums for low-income groups.

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