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  • on 12.12.2014
  • at 06:26 PM
  • by Kevin

Leading international NGOs speak out against EU’s decision to boost private sector 0

Today EU Development Ministers concurred on increasing the role of the private sector  in EU development policy.

The publication of their EU Council Conclusions on “A stronger role of the private sector in development cooperation: An action oriented perspective” has sparked strong reactions from a number of leading international NGOs.

Though they acknowledge the central role businesses can play in reducing poverty, NGOs such as ActionAid, Eurodad and Oxfam believe boosting the private sector in EU development cooperation is not the way to go in order to promote development . They argue that investing in the private sector entails risks and may not necessarily benefit the poor.

Hilary Jeune, Oxfam’s EU policy advisor: “The private sector has an important role in helping to lift people out of poverty but we are worried EU governments are only seeing the good side of possible engagement. Development ministers seem charmed by the prospects of private finance flows and have failed to provide guarantees that ensure businesses will play by the rules and that their investment will benefit the poorest in society.”

Laura Sullivan, ActionAid’s European Policy and Campaigns Manager: “Europe needs to invest more in the smallholder farmers and small and medium sized businesses that generate the kind of jobs needed to raise people out of poverty for good. Smallholder farmers are the real backbone of the private sector in Africa and the potential driving force behind lasting development that champions the poorest over the clamour to sustain economic growth.”

María José Romero, Policy and Advocacy Manager at Eurodad: “The EU must recognise that leveraging private finance, and promoting public-private partnerships, entails many risks and is not always the best way to trigger development. A better policy would be to ask Southern countries to test the development impacts of these new proposals, putting developing countries back in the driving seat of their own development, where they belong. Instead, the EU should focus on putting its own house in order, starting with taking action to stop European companies dodging taxes, which costs the developing world dear.”

 By Sophie Blais – Afronline

 Photo Credit: European Commission

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