Tuesday, November 5, 2013
One of the goals of the Open Government Partnership is to increase corporate accountability — but private firms need to be (more) involved.
That’s why at the annual summit last week in London, African business leader and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim complained about the absence of business people from the discussions.
“Business has a stake in open government,” said Ibrahim. “Business is coming under extreme pressure from civil society now to clean up their act. It’s time for business to show us they are good citizens.”
Indeed, as aid budgets continue to dwindle and struggle to achieve poverty reduction, a key area of focus for the World Bank is finding new ways to mobilize the energies and capital already existing in the markets for development.
“When we talk about aid we always think about multilateral agencies or bi-lateral agencies trying to deliver aid somewhere but there is a lot of money in the market in the private sector,” Benjamin Herzberg, the bank’s head of private sector engagement for good governance, told Devex. “The question is, how do we leverage the private sector to do development?”
New scheme to engage the private sector in development
Over the years, the International Financing Corp., the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, has worked with companies by providing investment as well as offering advice on how to implement projects which have an impact on sustainability, governance and the social environment around firms, improving their bottom line at the same time.