By Christopher Purdy, Executive Vice President of DKT International. This originally appeared on The Broker blog.
If we want to increase jobs and reduce poverty, we must emphasize markets and the private sector, and include them in the post-2015 development discussion. Failure to engage the private sector in development is like trying to swim from New York to Amsterdam; you can do it but everyone else will have already arrived before you.
There is little doubt about the influence the private sector has on economies and societies. According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the flow of foreign private investment into the developing world dwarfs official development assistance (ODA) by about 4 to 1, even in the aftermath of the global economic recession.
Like the public and NGO sectors, the private sector is far from perfect. And the underlying motive of generating profits does not always align well with humanitarian principles of development. However, there are an equal number of positive examples of how the private sector is helping to improve lives in the developing world. Indeed, broad development is severely impeded without active participation from a vibrant private sector. InterAction, the US consortium of international NGOs, echoed this sentiment in a 2011 policy paper which encouraged the US government and other donors to engage private sector actors not only in fundraising but also in the innovation and creativity that can promote better development.