When we look at the development agenda in Africa, it is helpful to consider the impact of development through the lens of government and public sector organisations’ main objectives. Most respondents in our survey are private sector companies and their view of these objectives provides us with a good sense of whether they are aligned to a common development agenda and if there are areas where deeper alignment would make a difference. Our findings suggest that there are areas where the public and private sectors could do more to work together towards a common development agenda.
The first major objective on the development agenda is to develop a deeper understanding of stakeholders and their expectations. Companies, governments and other development partners must communicate better with stakeholders to understand who they are and what they want.
We asked CEOs about a range of stakeholders and how much they influence strategy. The three most influential stakeholder groups are customers, government and competitors. Over 80% of survey respondents also say that supply chain partners, capital providers (like creditors and investors), employees and local communities influence their business strategy. Social media and traditional media are also influential but non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have much less influence.
Clare Akamanzi of the Rwanda Development Board attributes NGOs’ weaker influence with the private sector to their stronger relationships with the government – at least in Rwanda – whereas their interactions with the private sector tend to be commercial in nature.
‘Their purchasing and supply chains occur in the private sector. NGOs are consumers,’ she says, adding that some NGOs partner with private sector companies to extend their outreach efforts to rural areas, where private sector companies may already operate. Even so, their relationships with the public sector tend to be much stronger.