Foreign Assistance: Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) [January 9, 2013]   [open pdf - 367KB]

"In the last decade, the concept of government partnerships with the private sector has frequently appeared in international development literature and U.S. development policy discussions. Goal 8 of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals is to 'develop a global partnership,' with an emphasis on working with the private sector to increase global access to information technology and pharmaceuticals. The 'transformational diplomacy' initiative in the George W. Bush Administration included 'engaging the private sector' among its six areas of focus. The Obama Administration's U.S. Global Development Policy, announced in September 2010, aims to 'leverage the private sector, philanthropic and non-governmental organizations, and diaspora communities.' U.S. development activities in the last decade reflect this emphasis. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) alone reports participating in 1,600 public-private partnerships (PPPs) with more than 3,000 different partners between 2001 and 2012. Some observers view such partnerships as part of a broad ongoing transformation of how foreign aid is implemented, bringing nontraditional actors and ideas into development practice. Others view PPPs as an experiment that has not proven itself preferable to traditional approaches to development assistance. […] This report discusses the evolution of private sector involvement in U.S. foreign assistance programs over recent decades, how globalization has driven the modern approach to development partnerships, potential benefits and drawbacks of PPPs, and how partnerships are being used by other bilateral donors and multilateral development agencies. The report then discusses partnership-related issues that may be of interest to Congress as part of the foreign assistance authorization and reform process."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41880
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