Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, October 24, 2011

Facilitating pro-poor business

Facilitating pro-poor business

Why advice goes further when it’s backed by investment

M. J. Boomsma
Anna Laven
Bart de Steenhuijsen Piters eds.
In development cooperation there is a trend that the private sector is seen as an integral part of the solution to reduce poverty. As a result pro-poor businesses emerge, involving actors such as private businesses, the public sector, farmer organizations and NGOs. There are some challenges in bringing these different actors together in a social enterprise.

Generally, there is a need for a facilitator to align interests, bridge cultural differences, fill in gaps in skills, and deal with power differences, wrong expectations and prejudice.

The five cases in this bulletin (ginger in Sierra Leone, tuna in Ghana, organic cocoa on the Dominican Republic, biodiesel in Mali and a trade house in Mali) illustrate that each type of facilitating role has its advantages and disadvantages, and that there are many factors a good facilitator needs to take into account when bringing together the public and private sector and civil society to form a pro-poor business.

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