The ‘Partnering with Governments’ (PwG) programme was developed to explore how to build the capacity of business and government in sub-Saharan Africa to collaborate more effectively in addressing sustainable development challenges.
The programme has been active in a number of countries, including Gabon, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia. Work also started in Guinea and Madagascar, but had to be suspended due to civil unrest. PwG was a collaboration between the IBLF, GTZ (the German international sustainable development agency), and a number of major businesses including Microsoft, Rio Tinto, SAP, Shell and the Shell Foundation.
Purpose of the programme
Although there is a growing momentum towards the use of cross-sector partnerships, relatively few cross sector partnerships involving Southern governments have been established. Of those that have been formed, many have not fulfilled their potential. There may be several reasons for this: a limited awareness of the potential of partnerships to achieve government goals; a lack of skills and capacity within government and other sectors to be able to implement partnerships; or a legislative framework that makes partnering difficult in practice.
The purpose of PwG was to explore how to systematically promote the mainstreaming of such cross-sector partnership as an essential mechanism to achieve sustainable development and to build the capacity of governments, business and civil society to partner more effectively.
Specifically the programme aimed to:
- Better understand the challenges businesses and governments face in partnering together.
- Increase understanding of the value of cross-sector partnering for African and other governments in achieving more effective sustainable development.
- Create a more enabling environment in which partnership approaches to development can flourish.
- Help build governmental capacity to partner more effectively with business and NGOs through awareness-raising, partnership skills training and mentoring.
- Catalyse a wide group of interested parties from across the sectors to push forward the partnerships agenda, and support and connect partnership practitioners through an online forum.
In each country, the programme was adapted to the local context. In South Africa, for example, PwG convened a ‘Partnership Forum’ bringing together people from all sectors to discuss the opportunities and challenges of partnerships in South Africa, then ran several trainings in partnering skills development, disseminated awareness-raising material across local government, and worked with the government to try to enable more partnership-friendly legislation.
Partnering with Governments Resources
The programme generated a range of resources that are available for download.
In January 2011, we published a toolbook titled ‘The Partnering with Governments Navigator – Building effective collaboration with the public sector in Africa’, which is aimed at assisting donors, NGOS and practitioners from the private sector in navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities of partnership with governments. You can download the Navigator here.