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 Italian foreign policy. The Italian Cooperation System, in compliance with the international programmes and strategies defined by international organisations and by the European Union, pursues the fundamental objectives of: a) uprooting poverty and narrowing inequalities, improving the living conditions of peoples and promoting sustainable development; b) defending and upholding human rights, the dignity of the individual, gender equality, equal opportunities and the principles of democracy under the rule of law; and c) preventing conflicts, supporting peacebuilding and reconciliation processes, as well as post-conflict stabilisation and the consolidation and reinforcement of democratic institutions.
The political responsibility for 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) has been the operational engine of the Italian Cooperation since January 2016. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is authorised to act as a 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. The inclusive business methodology has been promoted through the results of research lead by DeLab, the Italian member of the BoP Global Network. The first public call for proposals addressed to the private sector actors was launched by AICS in July 2017; the second call of this nature was launched in 2018. Both calls focused on innovation, inclusive business, public-private partnerships and sustainability, with a budget of 5 million euros to co-fund through grants project proposals.
The total budget allocation is usually divided in three lots:

a) “new ideas” (so called “seed capital”) to be implemented in Partner countries;
b) start-up firms;
c) “mature ideas” already implemented in one of the Partner countries and easy to be scaled up in one or more different Partner country/ies (so-called “scaling-up”) .
The third call, with a total budget of 5 million Euros, was launched at the end of November 2019.

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.


Public call for private sector

Inclusive Business in Italy

For any other information regarding the engagement of Italian private sector in IDC, please look at:

Innovative ideas for development

The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)
The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)
Budget (mio €)
Target group

Private sector: Italian private profit-seeking companies

Programme description

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

Activities: Challenge fund.