Sub-principle 1.A

Define national PSE goals through an inclusive process


Why is it important?


A national private sector engagement policy (either a stand-alone policy or a section in an overall development co-operation strategy) can set or make reference to regulatory frameworks that companies should follow, identify priority sectors in which companies can operate, and set results frameworks around which companies can develop their development co-operation projects. The quality of these regulatory frameworks varies, and in some cases can be restrictive and detrimental to civil society, workers and the environment. In these cases, international standards are called for. Public-private dialogue to underpin the development of the PSE policy can ensure that the government is responsive to business and the public interest, and that the policy supports a stronger business-enabling environment that encourages responsible and inclusive growth. It can provide an opportunity for building strong in-country presence and networking for multinational corporations.

Self-reflection questions
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  • Have you reviewed the national PSE strategy (either a stand-alone policy or a section in an overall development co-operation strategy) in the countries where you operate to identify national and sectoral development priorities and do you have the capacity to follow its development? 
  • Have you communicated your needs, priorities and challenges to support the design of a good PSE strategy that attracts the right companies and specifies the type of donor support businesses need?
  • If the government of the country where you operate does not have a PSE strategy, have you assessed whether it is useful for you to contribute to its development, including through interlocutors such as business associations or networks? 
  • Have you considered supporting the participation of local MSMEs within your supply chain in consultations with governments for developing a national PSE strategy?

Actions to consider
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  • Participate in national consultations when requested and encourage the participation of suppliers and business partners. 
  • Clearly communicate the capabilities that the private sector can deploy towards sustainable development as well as the incentives needed for their deployment.
  • Seek areas of convergence in your own business model and strategies to support inclusive growth and identify shared value while generating business profit. 

Pitfalls to avoid
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  • Overlook the perspectives and contributions of smaller companies, especially MSMEs, which are unlikely able to participate in consultations on national PSE strategies. 
  • Dismiss government’s perspective in dialogue.
  • Ignore relevant local and international laws that ensure local and country ownership. 
  • Exclude the active and informed participation of specific stakeholders as part of the dialogue, including workers’ associations and civil society. 
  • Ignore the local context by replicating home country practices in a different environment. 
  • Miss aligning your business activities with the country’s long-term development priorities. Defining national PSE goals is a long-term action plan; look at your impact and how you can be involved over a longer period.


The Ugandan government consulted the private sector on its second National Development Plan, the National Private Sector Development Strategy, and other national policies and frameworks. It engaged the private sector in a number of ways, including by setting up a Private Sector Consultative Group which included representatives from multinational corporations. 

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