UNDP and the private sector

welding man at work
Credits: UNDP South Sudan / Brian Sokol


 “In UNDP and the broader UN system, we are keen to see even greater engagement of the private sector in human and sustainable development.  Indeed it would be hard to drive such development forward without business being on board.” Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

Private sector plays an important role as an engine of economic growth and job creation in developing countries. It provides goods and services, generates tax revenues to finance essential social and economic infrastructure, develops new and innovative solutions that help tackle development challenges and it is a central actor in addressing climate change. As such, the private sector is an important strategic partner for UNDP in achieving its vision to help countries eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and exclusion within broader sustainable development.

UNDP has projects related to private sector development or engagement in most of the over 170 countries and territories where we provide assistance. UNDP works with companies from a variety of sectors, for example, water, energy, extractives, food and agriculture, consumer products, healthcare, finance and information technology. Private sector companies have supported UNDP projects directly with US$135 million between 2009 and 2013.

UNDP’s collaboration with the private sector can take various forms:

  • Facilitate discussions between public and private sector and the civil society on a specific development theme or industry sector;
  • Find solutions for development challenges through core business activities and initiatives that include low-income groups into value chains as producers, suppliers, employees and consumers;
  • Mobilize private sector financial and in-kind resources for development projects;
  • Leverage innovative technologies and solutions for development;
  • Form broader collective action initiatives on key development issues.

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Featured Publications
Barriers and Opportunities at the Base of the Pyramid - The Role of the Private Sector in Inclusive Development

This report takes an ecological approach to understanding barriers to poverty reduction and provides opportunities for the private sector actors to help tackle these barriers.

African Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme Toolkit

This toolkit is meant to enable UNDP Country Offices and their partners to develop supply chain linkages with local small and medium sized producers in agriculture sector.

African Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme Training Manual

This training manual complements the toolkit and contains a series of learning activities to build the skills required to develop and implement a supplier development program.