Inclusive Business in Development Cooperation of EU Member States

Institutional Setup

Italian Law no. 125/2014 defines development cooperation as an “integral and qualifying part” of the Italian foreign policy. The Italian Cooperation System, in compliance with the international programmes and strategies defined by International Organizations and by the European Union, pursues the fundamental objectives of:

  1. uprooting poverty and narrowing inequalities, improving the living conditions of peoples and promoting sustainable development;
  2. defending and upholding human rights, the dignity of the individual, gender equality, equal opportunities and the principles of democracy under the Rule of Law;
  3. preventing conflicts, supporting peacebuilding and reconciliation processes, as well as post-conflict stabilisation and the consolidation and reinforcement of democratic institutions.

The political responsibility of development cooperation is attributed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who sets forth the policy orientation and assures unity and coordination of all national cooperation initiatives.

The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) is the operational engine of the Italian Cooperation and is operative since January 2016. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is authorised to perform the task of acting as financial institution for international development cooperation.

Inclusive Business in Private Sector Promotion

The law endorses a systemic approach to development cooperation and to co-development initiatives, based on the local ownership of partners and the involvement of the private sector.

Inclusive business methodology has been promoted through the results of a research lead by DeLab, the Italian member of the BoP Global Network. The first public call addressed to the private sector actors has been launched by AICS in July 2017. The call is focused on innovation, inclusive business, profit-noprofit partnership, sustainability.

Regional Focus

The priority countries listed below are defined by the three-year programming document:

  • In Africa: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Egypt, and Tunisia
  • In the Middle East: Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine
  • In the Balkans: Albania and Bosnia
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean: Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador
  • In Asia: Afghanistan, Myanmar, Pakistan


Innovative ideas for development

Budget (mio €)
Programme description


To promote innovation in methods and contents and to extend the network of subjects involved in international cooperation activities to profit-making companies.


Challenge fund.