Sub-principle 1.A

Define national PSE goals through an inclusive process 


Why is it important? 

Development partners should have a well-designed and thoroughly consulted PSE strategy with reference to related goals in their development co-operation policy. This is key to clarifying the vision and ambitions of its PSE efforts. An inclusive and transparent consultation process helps to better design a PSE strategy as well as the related inputs to the national development strategy and other country strategies. Such an inclusive and transparent consultation process includes dialogue with all of the relevant focal points in the administration, lead entity/ministry, and domestic and local (i.e. in partner countries) partners. A consultative process from the outset of strategy development can be an important hook for a development partner to help build awareness and capacity in-country (including among government, civil society, business partners and its own embassy staff). Ultimately, inclusively defined PSE goals can also help mitigate risks, such as disorganised interventions, ineffective strategies and project failure, and deepen understanding of private sector roles and capabilities, both in development co-operation and sustainable development more broadly. It is therefore also beneficial for a development partner to support the inclusively defined PSE strategies of its partner country governments, which is why some of the guidance also refers to the development partners’ consultative role in developing partner country governments’ policy environment for PSE.


Self-reflection questions
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Policy Level Project Level
  • If your government or organisation does not have a dedicated PSE strategy, what other strategic approaches do you use to design and manage your relationship with private sector organisations domestically and in your partner countries?
  • If your government or organisation has a PSE strategy, does the national development strategy refer to its main goals? Does it propose how to support partner country governments in designing their national PSE goals through an inclusive process? Does it specifically refer to how diverse government entities, subnational governments, the local and international private sector, civil society, foundations, and other development actors active in the country can contribute?
  • Do you encourage your partner countries to consult the private sector and take up PSE goals in their broader development strategies that go beyond dedicated policies for PSE?
  • Does your PSE strategy identify potential associated risks and opportunities for providing such support to national actors?
  • Do PSE projects your government or organisation supports require consultations and dialogue with partner country governments and other partners at different stages of the projects’ life cycle? If so, how much emphasis is placed on local actors, including subnational governments, civil society and the local private sector?
  • Do your projects strengthen local ownership and capacity by ensuring the regular and sustained participation of local public, private and civil society actors and set up processes and systems that help enable the creation of inclusive outcomes?

Actions to consider
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Policy Level Project Level
  • Ensure that your PSE strategy (and references to PSE in the national development strategy) is coherent with your government’s or organisation’s commitments to national country ownership and the Development Effectiveness Principles. This includes having a solid results framework, a clear approach on how to consult stakeholders in policy design in country, clarity on the accountability relationships, and how and where to provide information on the implementation of the strategy at regular intervals, etc.
  • Support the participation of national stakeholders in the design of partner countries’ national PSE policies, notably those with limited capacities (i.e. MSMEs and civil society organisations. This support may be particularly necessary in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.
  • Examine your own consultation processes for developing your government’s or organisation’s PSE strategy: if a partner country government approaches you for guidance, consider how and which of your own best practices can support the country’s efforts to consult other stakeholders.
  • Support the development of inclusive long-term strategies for private finance mobilisation as part of partner countries’ national PSE or development policies, including integrated national financing frameworks when appropriate. 
  • Maintain or develop a set of knowledge materials on your own PSE strategy’s priorities and mechanisms that you can share with partner country governments and other national actors to inform the design of their PSE strategy.
  • Consult partner country governments and other relevant stakeholders during the planning and implementation phases of new PSE projects in ways that are light, but rigorous, and enable inclusive outcomes. 
  • Regularly offer advice to partner country governments on national PSE goals in view of sharing experiences during project implementation, especially in fragile and conflict-affected con

Pitfalls to avoid
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Policy Level Project Level


  • Unilaterally prioritise your own commercial interests over the development priorities stipulated in the partner country’s development plan and/or PSE goals and strategy.
  • Base your contribution on short-term priorities. This is a long-term action plan. How can you support the partner country’s design and delivery of national PSE goals over a longer period of time?
  • Assume that consultation with, and agreement by, stakeholders on national PSE goals will automatically translate into their active engagement, buy-in, or ability to influence the goals and their achievement.
  • Assume that the partner country government will facilitate inclusive dialogue with other actors.
  • Take charge of dialogue without transferring responsibility to the partner country government for leading the process: without early ownership by the partner country government in the policy design and consultation process, strong commitment to the agreed PSE goals and processes can not be achieved.


  • Assume that PSE projects are aligned to national PSE goals. 
  • Solely support a partner country government without including local civil society and private sector actors in the consultation and implementation processes.


The United States Agency for International Development provided financial support and assistance to Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency to develop Ghana’s Private Sector Engagement Strategy for the National Adaptation Plan. This strategy was developed through an inclusive and country-owned process of research, bilateral meetings, and multi-stakeholder validation of key priorities and objectives.

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