Sub-principle 1.B

Align and co-ordinate PSE through development co-operation with national priorities and strategies


Why is it important? 

The impact of private sector engagement (PSE) is greater if the vision and ambition enshrined in development partner’s strategies is aligned with the partner country’s national priorities and strategies. A shared agenda is critically important to foster development outcomes that are in line with the needs of the partner country, as well as to support progress towards the 2030 Agenda and related global goals. Development partners should only invest in PSE in specific country contexts if their efforts are in line with the priorities identified by partner country governments, and should be reflected in their development strategies. This requires a proactive approach of engaging with the partner country government to discuss priorities and identify shared interests. Aligning and co-ordinating strategies and priorities will translate into shared objectives of country-level activities, making it more likely they will be effective and ensuring greater value for money. Beyond alignment, co-ordination among development partners increases the effectiveness of interventions. Such efforts avoid duplication, fragmentation and competition for resources. Co-ordination also helps identify challenges to be addressed and opportunities to be tapped into.

Self-reflection questions
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Policy Level Project Level
  • Does your government’s or organisation’s PSE strategy and development co-operation policy recognise the need to align with partner countries’ national and subnational development and PSE priorities? 
  • Do you regularly assess the degree of alignment of your PSE strategy, programmes and projects with partner countries’ national and subnational development and PSE priorities as reflected in national development strategies?
  • Do you co-ordinate, at the country level, with other development partners to align in a harmonised way to avoid duplication and fragmentation of efforts and market distortions? 
  • Do you regularly exchange with partner country governments to inform the priority sectors and target regions for your PSE projects and jointly identify interventions to support their development priorities?
  • What other tools does your government or organisation use to address discrepancies between your own priorities and those of partner countries? What learning and feedback loops exist and are they structured and systematic? 
  • Are your PSE projects set out to explicitly contribute to a partner country’s national and subnational development priorities? 
  • Do feasibility studies consider the impact of your PSE projects on the environment and socio-economic status? 
  • Do your projects align to nationally defined development and PSE goals? 
  • Do your projects use and support related and country-led results frameworks, if they exist?
  • Do you communicate your projects’ intermediary and final results to the partner country government? 
  • Do you share relevant information to support national and subnational administrations’ efforts to co-ordinate PSE interventions?
  • Do you share relevant information with other stakeholders at country level, including business associations, trade unions and civil society? 
  • Are your contracted organisations aware of the partner country’s national development priorities and the need to align project activities accordingly?

Actions to consider
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Policy Level Project Level
  • Establish structured and regular channels of communication within your administration, with partner countries’ national and subnational governments, and with other development partners to agree on priorities, ensure co-ordination, facilitate alignment and avoid duplication. 
  • Establish or participate in existing co-ordination groups dedicated to PSE with other development partners and/or with government and other stakeholders at the country level.
  • Support or lead political dialogue on dilemmas and challenges in aligning PSE priorities at country level that cannot be addressed at the technical level.
  • Make use of the Sustainable Development Goals and national development plans as common frameworks to clarify priorities among all partners and define how your PSE projects contribute to specific related goals and indicators. 
  • Foster alignment between your internal reporting systems and those of the partner country’s governments on PSE projects, including results frameworks and indicators.
  • Encourage and engage in regular and joint progress assessments with project partners and partner country governments.

Pitfalls to avoid

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Policy Level Project Level


  • Establish country-specific PSE goals without consulting partner countries’ national governments and other local stakeholders.
  • Assume your government’s or organisation’s own PSE priorities align with partner countries’ national goals. 
  • Develop one-size-fits-all policies and programmes that do not recognise the needs and constraints of local actors. 
  • Act alone without previous co-ordination with other development partners at the country level.
  • Burden private sector partners with bureaucratic requirements that divert energy from agreed priorities or reduce their flexibility in implementing solutions.


  • Sporadic or ad hoc attempts at alignment. Alignment needs to be attended to throughout all stages of a project’s life cycle – from project design to its implementation, conclusion and evaluation – with processes, dialogue and information-sharing efforts in place at each step of the way.


Crown Agents’ Health Pooled Fund (HPF3) in South Sudan is an initiative supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office; the European Union; the United States Agency for International Development; Canada; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The fund works with the South Sudanese government to provide basic health services, including prevention and treatment, essential drugs, and medical equipment. Alignment was crucial to tackle the country’s structural limitations in delivering healthcare services due to a lack of infrastructure and persistent poverty aggravated by years of war. The country’s concurrent emergencies and structural limitations in health procurement infrastructure required strong alignment of all partners’ objectives and processes towards local necessities and realities. The fund has taken a long-term, incremental approach to ensuring alignment with local needs to support and build a robust end-to-end operational process for basic health service delivery and provision of essential drugs and medical equipment. In doing so, Crown Agents is supporting national development priorities with local systems and capabilities that are built to last. 

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