The UK’s Department For International Development Launches New Private Sector Department


The UK’s Department For International Development Launches New Private Sector Department

In 2010, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced that the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) would establish a new department to step up its engagement with the private sector. The Private Sector Department is now open.

The new department intends to prompt and help catalyse change across DFID to deepen our capability to work with and enable private enterprise to improve the prosperity and well-being of poor people.

The Head of Department Gavin McGillivray and most of the 25 staff have been appointed.

The department is structured into four teams:

  • Infrastructure, energy and basic services
  • Investment and finance
  • Business engagement hub
  • Policy and management

The department will take forward most of DFID’s centrally-funded private sector partnerships and projects and be a point of contact for these and future work. Its remit will include work on:

  • Pioneering and scaling up new business models that enhance the contribution of firms to development.
  • Public-private partnerships.
  • Fair and ethical trade.
  • Financial sector development including branchless banking, microfinance, finance for small & medium enterprises (SMEs) and remittances.
  • Catalysing private investment in business, infrastructure and basic services.
  • DFID’s shareholdings in CDC (formerly the Commonwealth Development Corporation), Actis, IFC (International Finance Corporation) and MIGA (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency).

The new department will develop its work programme over the coming weeks. DFID will publish details of its new approach to working with the private sector in May 2011.

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting the info. This is really interesting intervention that is for sure it will be big assistances to combat the current poverty through the business innovations

  2. IAs the President of Federation Of Nigerian Exporters,my focus is how to enable our members mostly rural commodity farmers,growers and traders to be key players in the global market place.It is our expectation that DFID will be able to expand our capacity in meeting the competitive demands of the international markets.Issues like ethical and fair trading tend to ‘shut’ us out form buyers overseas.your real time assistance should be made to reach out to the very poor in the grass roots who cannot visit DFID offices often located in the cities and nation’s capital.

  3. As the Executive Director of the “Center for Trade Development and Investment in Haiti, I think the opening of this Department wiil be very useful for the private sector development. However, it is important to know how the local groups of micro,small and medium sized entrepreneurs in rural zones in Haiti can  benefit a real support from  this programme in the fied of: Capacity building, Access to credit, participation to national trade fairs, regional trade fairs and international trade fairs. Because, the sector of micro and small enterprises needs to be supported in order to create added values, new jobs and richness one of the important ways to a developped private sector.


    Undrick Ceus



  4. This is a very welcome news to  Development Practitioners and Business People. For a very longtime the contribution of Businesses has not been recognise especially in most SS African countries, where many of the  Small Businesses are considered informal and have little or no access to Business development and Financial services that leads to profitability and Growth. The first step will be to assist these Governments to put in place the ‘enabling environment’ i.e. legislations and structures that will lead to the formalisation of SMEs, SMFEs and Micro and Mini enterprises on case by case and particularly bringing up business packages that will particularly promote Women-led and businesses in rural and  geographically vulnerable regions. Lets wait for the departments work programme and approaches to work with the Private sector.

  5. great to read this news. as we are looking to support Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs and actively seek out partnerships needed to support the development of their ideas. See our matchmaking platform and our 70 registered ventures to date. 2011 is the year to invest in Africa !!

  6. The move by DFID to great a whole department for Private Sector is great and will certainly encourage the Business Fight Poverty Community effort to combat poverty among the poorer around the world.


    As Director General of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment in the goverment of Western Equatoria State, South Sudan, we yet establishing our private sector after the long civil war that lasted for decades. Thus, After the refrundum surely we will have alot of opportunity to get benefited from the newly created sector of DFID.


    Emmanuel Zino Riko


  7. This is very good no doubt. But I am a bit sceptical. The challenge is can the government departments like DFID come out of patronizing culture. Surely business approach can not solve all problems. But I have no doubt that issues like income enhancement( I am not talking about poverty reduction which is very broad) can only be solved through a business approach, one which now seem in this private sector initiative of DFID. Still I would be keen what kind of practical assistance, not grants, be given by this initiative. My company Ruralasia Enterprise Services( pvt) is productivity growth specialist and I am very keen to work for tangible projects. I have had a meeting with a staff person at Karachi deputy high commission in 2008 with staff person Ms.Sumera Naveed with the precise request what DFID has recently announced. I am keen to go again if there is some real assistance. It is again emphasised this is no way to seek grants.  



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