Brokering and facilitating NL funded PPPs: Understanding the role of Dutch embassies and the challenges they face
This publication (PDF) by PPPLab explores Dutch embassies’ experiences in partnerships in food security and water with private sector involvement. Most embassies include several roles, most commonly brokering and facilitating. The intensity of embassy engagement varies widely, being most actively involved in the building phase of the partnership. The ‘from aid to trade agenda’ provokes a number of tensions for embassies: working directly with the private sector or via an NGO; the double role as funder and influencer of the partnership; ensuring local embeddedness with limited capacity; tension between flexibility while working within framework of public accountability. There are four lessons on partnering: (1) requires open dialogue between PPPs and embassies; (2) define what support is required and feasible from the embassy; (3) define when embassy involvement is most helpful and feasible; (4) creative partnering approaches are required. A case study (PDF) on this topic was set up in Kenya to explore the role of the Public P in PPPs. The main motivation for the ‘Food security via vertical integration of a new Kenyan potato chain’ PPP was to combine public sector expertise with innovative capacity of the private sector to come up with new solutions for food security issues and develop the agribusiness sector in Kenya. The most crucial challenge was the lack of capacity from one of the partners, which lead to delays. Also, the difference between the Kenyan public sector, wanting to minimize risk by adhering to strict certification protocols, and the private sector, wanting to maximize profits by strengthening the business case, was a burden on the partnering process. In order to work effectively, it is important to employ a repertoire of strategies for engagement, to be able to navigate the local political context, and to be willing to invest in the development of partnering capacities and trust within the PPPs. Most importantly, effective PPP partnering requires strategic choices on the why, how and what of working together with the Public P.