Discovery Leadership Masterclass Series with Frank Adu Anim


Toward sustainable economic growth and development (3)

…..rationalising the collaborative impacts of Public-Private Partnerships

The notion of a sustainable economy is a critical and very significant concept today. Largely, most African economies are too small to individually compete or adequately address issues of climate change implications, poverty, unemployment, diversity and inclusion among other threatening factors that limit the ecosystem’s development. Today, most economies encompass the rapid desire for growth of its socio-economic and political mainstays with wide expectations to accomplish substantial advances in economic emancipation and sustainability.

A country can come out of crisis and onto a path of sustainable development through the deployment of established plans and objectives aimed at addressing some of the critical factors that impede its growth. In addition, globalisation and the changing dynamics of climate conditions have resulted in extraordinary pressure on economies – necessitating a new discussion on how to deal with the numerous challenges bedevilling it as a result of the creeping phenomenon of climate change.

Obviously, the challenging landscape of Africa’s development has necessitated an increasing emphasis on the private sector’s role in complementing economic growth and development. The public sector obviously has more advantages than the private sector when it comes to easier access to finance and foreign exchange. That notwithstanding, the burden of inclusive governance and sustainable development with many gaps left illustrates the need for private sector partnership and support.

The challenges with the private sector obviously come through working in a difficult environment where corruption is rampant, rule of law is not enforced and the lack of good infrastructure makes it challenging to maintain collaborative efforts for economic development and prosperity. The private sector entrepreneurs who are recognised as the means to accelerate the rapid industrialisation desired by countries are deemed to have inadequate capital and know-how. However, the core dimensions and need for public-private sector engagement for inclusive growth and economic development defines the new pathway.

Though inclusive growth and the path for development lay emphasis on deficits in efforts of government in development, poor performance of the public sector in creating jobs and stimulating economic growth has led to the shift toward private sector participation in this developmental agenda.

That said, it is obvious that with the economy’s expansion across all private and public sectors and the creation of worldwide accessible markets, infrastructure and economy, emphasis is now laid on the importance of governments and private sectors collaborating to develop a new economic and political ecosystem with more effective and convenient private and public sector actors supporting to generate greater impacts for progressive growth.

Economic growth, the role of Good Governance

Good governance is an important component of effective economic policy, since it contributes to the maintenance of an environment that promotes robust and equitable growth. The concept describes a process of public administration that optimises public interests. One of its key characteristics is a type of collaborative administration of public life conducted by both citizens and the state and a new connection between civil society and the political state.

Good governance can only be accomplished in a free and democratic political system since it is impossible to attain without them. Previous research studies have shown that individuals are happier with their lives in nations with higher levels of governance quality. Because good governance is an effective and constructive collaboration between citizens and the state, the foundation to its sustainability lies in authorities engaging in political reforms and effective administration.

Meanwhile, there is always a movement or actors that drive the need for good governance becoming the cornerstone for economic emancipation. A reform movement seeks to modify or enhance specific elements of society progressively through advocacy for drastic or fundamental improvements and change. Good governance operates on the foundational principles of transparency, rule of law, legitimacy, accountability, effectiveness and responsiveness, without which greater growth and socio-economic development of a nation remain an illusion.

The private sector’s role as partner in development

The private sector is considered broadly as an embodiment of the organising principle of economic activities where ownership is an important factor, where markets and competition drive economic production and where private actors (individuals, poor, rich) and businesses undertake risk activities to achieve profits and income through market exchange. The private sector organisations are characterised by a core strategy and mission that drives them for profit.

They include individuals as both formal or informal sector entrepreneurs, financial institutions, farmers etc. The private sector’s role in economic development spans urban governance and its influence in the development of inclusivity and sustainable development. The sector’s impact affects poverty reduction and it is a driver of agility and conflict remedies in unemployment, exclusion and instability. As a partner in development, the private sector functions as a deliverer of goods and services to satisfy economic growth, and contributes to tax revenue needs of the economy through an efficient flow of capital.

The private sector’s contribution to inclusive growth via enlarging business opportunities to women and youth

The private sector indeed serves as an agent of change and potential partner for implementing SDGs. It is admitted that women face greater challenges when it comes to gender equality – gender violence, disruptions in access to sexual and reproductive health, coupled with effects of the Covid pandemic that have put a lot of women in predisposed positions which ought to be tackled by private sector engagement. The private sector in addressing these issues of women’s concerns must ensure there’s equal pay; implement policies that resolve pay inequalities; and guarantee parental leave and childcare so as to bridge gender gaps in the workplace. This can lead to women’s economic empowerment and growth.

Quite significantly, promoting the private sector’s contribution to inclusive growth would provide an enabling platform for the prevention of violence and sexual harassment in the workplace; ensure girls and especially women are equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow through access to education; allow job opportunities in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math); provide affordable start-up financing support; and build institutional capacities and structures.

Promising examples of private sector engagement in Inclusive Growth and Development

To mention the integration of Africa’s emerging innovation ecosystems and promote an environment for key stakeholder’s engagement to agree on and adhere to policies for innovation, technology and research and development is to mention the greater benefits the continent stands to enjoy. Remember, the most powerful and crucial concept today is a sustainable economy – and to have economies sustained will sometimes call for sustainable partnerships to happen.

It is acknowledged that sustainable partnerships, business-led initiatives in research and development partnerships, knowledge-sharing platforms, technology and skills transfer, and infrastructure investment result in contributions which have potential to kick-start development; enable productivity gains; generate quality jobs; strengthen skills; and promote technological advances. Furthermore, these initiatives spur incentives that stimulate investment growth and aid in formulating policies for a conducive working environment.

The government sector’s role in the interplay of development

The notion of good governance envisions a move away from well-established concepts of a top-down government approach to resolving societal challenges. Governance is the collection of all methods through which individuals and institutions, both public and private, manage their shared concerns. It is a continual process of balancing competing or divergent interests and taking coordinated action. It encompasses both official organisations and regimes with authority to compel compliance and enforce informal agreements that individuals and institutions have agreed to or believe are in their best interests.

Meanwhile, government’s tasks continually increase regarding the general, generic, economic, political and social concerns. The fundamentals of good governance – which are established on the principles of transparency, participation, consensus-orientation, the rule of law, effectiveness and efficiency, equity and inclusiveness, responsiveness and accountability – should be seen as guide-posts for driving commitments and efforts of government in its quest to address developmental deficits; be they social, economic or political.

With effective good governance practices, many economies can be supported with enhanced evaluation structures which may allow citizens to attain greater levels of factors relevant to their well-being. Indeed, government services in transportation, communication, research, peace and order are intermediary goods which affect the level of productivity in the private sector by creating an enabling environment for the private sector activities; build institutional capacities and structures; provide start-up financing support; and provide finance infrastructure and quality education to transform its human capital for sustainable development.

The private sector’s role in the coming decade to foster prosperity and growth

The rapid advancement and growing scale and complexity of climate change impacts; new challenges for government and industry in promoting long-term economic growth – particularly in terms of recent work; E-waste pollution; contamination of our water-bodies; responsible consumption; and reduced inequalities, all seem like major trends in environmental abuse and threats to our economic growth as a nation.

However, if the coming decade is to experience economic prosperity and growth for many economies, the private sector ought to align all its business strategies around the SDGs and galvanise creative actions leading to addressing impacts of climate change conditions, and embrace sustainable tenets for the change and development it anticipates. It ought to, again, address humanitarian concerns about violations of job rights and freedom; ensure proper due diligence throughout its supply chains; have effective stakeholder engagement and protection for the environment.

By continuing to build and expand education; enhancing skills development and ensuring increasing productivity and the attraction of investment; and creating better jobs with enhanced working conditions and services, the private sector could help change the narrative and better shape the pathway for greater commitment and engagement with the public sector toward creating economic development and freedom.


Frank is the CEO and Strategic Partner of AQUABEV Investment and Discovery Consulting Group.

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