Sub-principle 5.A

Ensure that a private sector solution is the most appropriate way to reach those furthest behind 


Why is this important? 


Realising development results – particularly for those furthest behind – is the starting point for any development intervention. Partner country governments have a crucial role in identifying and prioritising the needs of those marginalised sectors and geographic locations that are – or are at risk of being – left behind. In the pursuit of serving those needs, assessing the additionality of private sector solutions has important perks in terms of the efficiency and effectiveness of development interventions. It helps identify whether a private sector solution is effective in a given project, and where such a solution is most appropriate to achieve the desired development outcomes. Prior analysis, based on a clear problem definition, a simple theory of change, and consultations with local actors and development partners, is critically important to identify where a private sector solution is more appropriate than a partnership with other actors or direct investment by the development partner to achieve the desired development outcomes. Thus, it is a worthy practice for partner country governments to ensure that the limited resources available are spent in a way that maximises development outcomes for left-behind groups and sectors.

Self-reflection questions
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Policy Level Project Level
  • Does your PSE strategy identify priority sectors and areas of intervention where private sector solutions are most likely to benefit groups that are furthest behind?
  • Does your PSE strategy include an ex ante development additionality assessment to identify whether private sector solutions are more appropriate than other interventions to bring benefits to those furthest behind? 
  • Does your PSE strategy include an overall assessment of what types of mechanisms (financial and non-financial) would be the most appropriate to engage the private sector in reaching those sectors and groups furthest behind? Does it recognise the role of subnational governments and affected populations in identifying such mechanisms?
  • Do you have an overview of all the possibilities and actors that come into question to deliver sustainable development outcomes for those furthest behind?
  • Is your project based on a long-term goal ([simple] theory of change) that explicitly states the development challenge you are trying to address and how involving the private sector will benefit those furthest behind? 
  • In the design phase, does your project examine alternative solutions to your development challenge from actors other than the private sector? 
  • If you have identified a private sector solution to be most appropriate, have you agreed with stakeholders involved in the project (including the private sector and affected communities) on realistic objectives and established a joint results framework? 
  • Have you communicated with the intended beneficiaries how your project will produce benefits and why the involvement of the private sector will provide long-term benefits? 

Actions to consider
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Policy Level Project Level
  • Use development objectives (Sustainable Development Goals and national priorities), dialogue with other partners and analysis (political economy, overview of potential partners if available) as a starting point for identifying potential partners, shared agendas and appropriate interventions. 
  • Begin with local perspectives and priorities in all ex ante evaluations of the potential benefits of PSE projects for the intended beneficiaries.
  • Identify sectors and contexts where private sector solutions are the most likely to meet the needs of those furthest behind while keeping national priorities front and centre.
  • Conduct an ex ante additionality assessment on what a private sector solution offers those the furthest behind and review progress towards these ends regularly.
  • Ensure that each PSE project has a set of realistic sustainable development objectives that target specific populations or sectors that are at risk of, or are already, being left behind.
  • Communicate with stakeholders and development partners your rationale for working with the private sector in each specific project.
  • Carefully assess whether potential private sector partners would aim to attain the same development outcomes if you were not to partner with them. If so, reconsider investing your resources in this partnership.

Pitfalls to avoid
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Policy Level Project Level


  • Engage private sector companies and organisations without a clear rationale and assessment on whether this is the best solution to achieve the desired development goals. 
  • Omit adapting your PSE strategy in case of new insights from programmes and projects on their outcomes for those furthest behind.


  • Produce vague additionality assessments for large projects which require a robust justification and rationale for working with the private sector or overly detailed assessments for smaller projects. 
  • Create PSE projects without opportunities for course correction.
  • Initiate a project without a careful assessment of the private sector additionality and role.


In the case of the Kampala Principles case study on Digital Triage and Testing Booth in Bangladesh for Pandemic Response, it was determined that public testing capacity was inadequate to meet demand in the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, a private sector solution was put forward to reach those furthest behind in terms of testing and access to healthcare.

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