Financial Times Examines Rise In Public, Private Sector Global Partnerships For Aid Delivery

“New models of financing and delivering development programmes are bringing far-reaching changes to the international public sector,” with “[t]raditional government-to-government transactions … giving way to complex networks of partners – some of them from the private sector – to provide everything from antiretroviral drugs and girls’ education to emergency food supplies,” the Financial Times reports in a piece that explores why such changes are taking place and their implications for future funding.

“The changes,” some which the newspaper writes are the result of shrinking aid budgets, “have implications for the way non-governmental organisations (NGOs), aid agencies and non-profits are funded and managed, as well as how they assess their performance and report back to donors.” 

For groups such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, U.N. and World Bank, partnerships are vital, the newspaper writes, noting how groups have reached out to grassroots and other civil society organizations, and increasingly to businesses.

“Multilateral institutions and aid agencies have recognised that corporations have skills, knowledge and powerful distribution networks that can support their activities,” the Financial Times writes. Likewise, “as companies look to establish their credentials as responsible businesses, many are lining up to work with development banks and multilateral agencies.”

Still, “while aid agencies and multilateral institutions are keen to bring the private sector into development efforts, they cannot be seen to be giving unfair advantage to profit-making enterprises,” the newspaper continues, describing how the U.N. has attempted to mitigate issues by creating guidelines on how to select business partners.

The article also notes the growing need for organizations to publicly disclose funding sources and how money is being spent, as well as reporting back on the impact of such investments. The piece includes quotes from Georg Kell, executive director of the Global Compact, the U.N.’s corporate citizenship network; Simon Kingston, who leads the global development practice at the executive firm Russell Reynolds; Ben Leo of the Center for Global Development; and Nancy Roman, of the World Food Program (Murray, 3/23). 

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