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German Institute for Development Evaluation

Evaluation synthesis of private sector engagement in development cooperation

DEval is carrying out an evaluation synthesis of private sector engagement in development cooperation (DC). This involves systematically reappraising the existing evidence on the effectiveness of private sector engagement and deriving recommendations from it for future instruments and programmes in the thematic area.

Cooperation between development policy actors and the private sector has gained substantially in importance over the last two decades. In both financial and technical cooperation, tried and tested instruments are available, but new forms of cooperation are also being implemented.
Until now, the evidence on the contribution of private sector engagement to development objectives or its possible negative effects is limited to evaluations of selected instruments or programmes. As yet, there is little or no evidence base on impact findings across instruments and programmes for private sector engagement.
Against this backdrop, DEval is carrying out an evaluation synthesis of private sector engagement in development cooperation. It aims to systematically reappraise and compare existing evidence from the German and international context on the effectiveness of private sector engagement in DC and to identify effects across instruments and programmes.

Objectives

The aim of the evaluation synthesis is to conduct a thorough and systematic analysis of the existing evidence on private sector engagement in DC. To this end, the evaluation synthesis pursues the following objectives:

- Identify and assess the effectiveness, impact and sustainability across instruments and programmes of private sector engagement in German and international DC.

- Assess the comparative advantage/added value of DC instruments in private sector engagement relative to other instruments, and of the conditions in which DC instruments prove especially effective

- Identify evidence gaps in the field of private sector engagement, as a starting point for further evaluations and research

- Review and assess the German portfolio with respect to private sector engagement, and coordination with the international portfolio

- Quality analysis of evaluations on private sector engagement in German and international DC

Background

There is increasing awareness that state efforts alone cannot overcome global challenges like poverty, climate change or the coronavirus pandemic; instead, the combined efforts of state, civil society and economic actors are needed to tackle these issues.
The development community cooperates with private sector actors to mobilise the additional resources required for the financing of the Sustainable Development Goals and to achieve real economic effects in the partner country. The private sector is viewed as the engine for economic growth, since its entrepreneurial creativity and innovation encourages new investment, boosts the efficiency of markets and creates better jobs.
As yet, however, there is little or no evidence base on impact findings across instruments and programmes for private sector engagement. The growing significance of the issue, the diversity of instruments and the new cooperation formats all point to the necessity of identifying impact findings across instruments and programmes.

Methods

The object of the evaluation synthesis consists of existing evaluations of German DC addressing private sector engagement as well as evaluations and rigorous impact analyses on private sector engagement from the international context.
The questions selected for the evaluation synthesis will be answered on the basis of a theory-based approach. The implementation of the evaluation synthesis will be informed by the guidelines on systematic reviews issued by the internationally recognised Campbell Collaboration. To analyse the coherence of the German portfolio with respect to private sector engagement, the evaluation synthesis will also include primary data collection through semi-structured interviews.