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    Public-Private Partnerships


    International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2009

    During 2009 the Trade Forum team has examined the financial crisis, Aid for Trade and the creative economy. It has been a year of unprecedented economic, social and environmental turmoil which has resulted in the poorest of the poor taking the brunt of the negative impact.

    With only five years to go, it will take the combined efforts of all economic actors in addressing the triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) will become even more necessary.

    PPPs are not a new thing, but what has changed in recent years is the kind of partnerships being done, the issues being tackled and the level of innovation which collaborative projects are bringing to the development agenda.

    In the private sector, there has been a shift from corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes being somewhat of a "nice-to-have" element to an integral  and potentially profitable part of any successful, sustainable business. A new breed of "philanthrocapitalists" has also emerged with former business leaders, politicians and private foundations creating new models for development projects across the globe.

    For governments there is a growing recognition that the private sector can bring not just financial assistance but knowledge, expertise and other resources to solving issues traditionally considered to be in the public domain. The role of the private sector in trade policy has never been more important and it is imperative that the voice of small to medium-sized enterprises, not multinationals alone, is heard.

    In this issue of Trade Forum we explore PPPs from a number of different perspectives and contributions across a number of sectors. We look at issues including the impact of the global financial crisis on PPP investments and the roles that both the public and private sectors have to play in setting the agenda for trade development policy. We also look at best practice case studies of collaborations between the public and private sectors across a number of different industries in developing countries which are yielding mutually beneficial outcomes.

    With the 2015 deadline for the Millenium Development Goals approaching, PPPs are creating a bridge between the developed and developing worlds where corporations, governments, non- and inter-governmental agencies all need to embrace the potential for shared, sustainable value creation through collaborative partnerships. 

    The success of the ITC's mission to enable business in developing countries relies on providing sustainable, inclusive trade development solutions to the private sector, trade support institutions and policy-makers. To that end, taking into account the needs of the private sector, ITC's focus is on facilitating trade by assisting the development of hard and soft infrastructure; strengthening trade support institutions to help producers connect with global and regional markets; and ensuring CSR programmes forge sustainable partnerships with local partners in developing countries. 

    Patricia Francis