Within the European Commission, the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) is in charge of development policy in a wider framework of international cooperation, adapting to the evolving needs of partner countries.
Over the last decade, European Commission support for private sector development has averaged EUR 350 million per year and the current Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020 contains approximately EUR 2 billion for private sector development. This, combined with development assistance from Member States, makes the EU a key player in supporting local private sector development in partner countries.
The key policy document is the Commission Communication - A Stronger Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Developing Countries. The Communication highlights 12 concrete actions where the Commission believes it can add value and effectively complement actions by Member States and development partners on private sector cooperation. The actions target better regulatory environments in partner countries, business development and access to finance, especially for job-creating micro, small and medium-sized businesses. Another recent Commission Communication is the Achieving Prosperity through Trade and Investment updating the 2007 Joint EU Strategy on Aid for Trade. The Communication highlights the importance of trade as an instrument to poverty reduction and jobs creation through trade and investment. It puts a strong focus on inclusiveness by targeting the least developed countries, and countries in situations of fragility.
One of the Commission’s recent key private sector priorities is the External Investment Plan (EIP), which sets out a coherent and integrated framework to improve investment in Africa and the European neighbourhood in order to promote decent job creation as well as, inclusive and sustainable development. This is done through the three pillars, providing a guarantee, technical assistance and promoting a conducive investment climate. One of the EIP windows are focused on Micro, small and medium enterprises, including inclusive aspects such as targeting women entrepreneurs, as well as having a focus on fragile states.