Business Partnerships Hub – Investment Concept
Internationally, private sector engagement is recognised as crucial to achieve the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An estimate of the current funding gap for developing countries to meet the SDGs is US$2.5 trillion. Reaching the SDGs requires the collective efforts of all partners. The private sector has the means and increasingly the motivation to contribute. Australia aims to transition from aid relationships towards economic partnerships and to help business, both in Australia and overseas, make a large contribution to that effort.
The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper reinforces policy directions on engaging the private sector in aid and development, recognising that private sector resources, influence, creativity and expertise are powerful tools to promote economic growth and reduce poverty in our region.
The current Business Partnerships Platform (BPP) was developed as DFAT's flagship private sector engagement program in 2015 to demonstrate that businesses can deliver sustainable social impact in developing countries while achieving commercial returns; to help DFAT gain knowledge of working with the private sector; and to help DFAT develop strategic relationships with the private sector. An appraisal of the BPP found the current phase has generated outcomes that have contributed to economic growth in our partner countries. The next phase will require greater engagement of the private sector to achieve the Foreign Policy White Paper objectives.
We propose to establish a Business Partnerships Hub that will support the implementation of the Operational Framework for Private Sector Engagement (OPSE), currently in development, by building the culture, capability and systems to scale-up DFAT's engagement with the private sector. It will build confidence, expertise and develop DFAT's engagement with the private sector to reach a state where private sector engagement is considered strategically and the private sector is viewed as a critical partner for the aid program.
The BPH will support the Department to engage better with the private sector and leverage its expertise, resources and networks to achieve development outcomes. The BPH will complement existing investments that engage the private sector and strengthen Australia's standing as an effective development partner in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Business Partnerships Hub will comprise four key components:
- a private sector knowledge hub to promulgate DFAT and international private sector expertise, manage communications, share lessons learnt across DFAT, and undertake and disseminate research on best practices approaches;
- training on private sector engagement and relationships management across all staffing levels from Head of Mission to practitioners;
- private sector advisory services, which will provide technical expertise and advisory services for the design, implementation and review of aid programs as well as partnership brokering services to help DFAT staff understand the value proposition of business; and
- management of the next phase of the Business Partnerships Platform, which will provide a continued mechanism for DFAT to pilot and trial new private sector engagement approaches.
DFAT has made the concept document public to provide potential tenderers the best opportunity to prepare for the tender with information on the upcoming design and intent of the program.