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Workshops provide valuable training on private sector engagement throughout Africa

Earlier this year as one of its quarterly achievements, Business Environments for Agile Markets (BEAM) conducted back-to-back three-day workshops in West Africa (Accra, Ghana) and East Africa (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) on Leveraging Private Capital for Development in Africa, implemented in partnership with USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa (PCGA). The workshops informed close to 70 USAID staff throughout Africa about opportunities to engage and partner with various sources of private capital (including banks, impact funds, and private equity firms) in areas such as agriculture, agro‑processing, transport and logistics, infrastructure, health, education, environment, and energy. Each workshop involved dynamic presentations and interactive sessions led by top international finance, investment, and economic development experts. The workshops used a case study method with local examples to demonstrate possibilities for public-private partnerships. Multiple key private sector partners also spoke about their businesses and opportunities for partnerships with USAID missions. The workshop successfully engaged more than 25 private financial and corporate partners, including Acumen Fund, Grassroots Business Fund, GroFin, Root Capital, Jacana Partners, Injaro, African Agriculture Fund, African Agribusiness Capital Fund, African Health Fund, African Medicines Impact Investment Fund, EcoBank, United Bank of Africa, Standards Chartered, NedBank, Cadiz Asset Management, and AgDevCo. Attendees of the workshops were enthusiastic about their experiences, expressing that the workshops introduced them to more private sector representatives than they had ever encountered before. Others stated that the dialogue with the private sector was the most distinct and valuable part of the workshops.

CARANA Global Practice and Market Strategy Advisor, Brett Johnson, presents at the PCGA workshop.CARANA Global Practice and Market Strategy Advisor, Brett Johnson, presents at the PCGA workshop.

Following these successful and well-attended workshops, CARANA was asked to prepare for a similar three-day workshop in Southern Africa. Those involved in the BEAM program organized a scoping mission to Southern Africa to generate mission interest in attending the workshop (held June 5–7 in Johannesburg, South Africa) as well as to engage private sector representatives to participate actively in the third day of each workshop. BEAM aimed to use this workshop to foster private sector interest in engaging in public-private partnerships with USAID. In addition to using core materials from the past two workshops, BEAM developed additional case studies (with Southern African examples) as well as identified specific sectors and countries where there is an unmet potential for shared value between USAID and private sector entities.

Published in June 2013