The Role of the Private Sector in the Development Agenda

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap have identified the private sector as one of the key enablers of development, facilitating the production of and trade in goods and services. Through enhanced Industrial and value chain development including on such priority sectors such as agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, pharmaceuticals, leather, textile and clothing, tourism, and services, the private sector occupies a pivotal role not only in development but also in regional integration thereby facilitating inclusive industrialisation. Despite this important role, the sector has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with devastating effects on the operations of many companies with significant loss of jobs and unemployment; political instability; and escalated income inequality. Notwithstanding the challenges, the region remained vigilant and committed towards attainment of the objectives as enshrined in the priority areas of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) the SADC Vision 2030. This policy brief assesses the impact of COVID-19 on the state of the private sector in the region and evaluate its role in development. The brief also explores potential synergies between the private sector and civil society in the region and provide recommendations for possible collaboration and reforms necessary to ignite a non-state actor led domestic demand driven developmental strategy for the region.