Modernizing Foreign Assistance Through Private Sector Engagement
Across the U.S. government, reform initiatives seek to improve the conditions for partnering as a key strategy for advancing America’s security, prosperity, and values. In 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order that calls for improving federal government service delivery and a Memorandum that seeks to deepen, expand, and better leverage our partnerships, particularly those with the private sector.
To improve its outcomes through partnering, USAID has initiated a major effort to introduce operational shifts as well as rethink technical approaches. Administrator Samantha Power in her November 2021 speech, “A New Vision for Global Development,” called for USAID to tackle “critical bureaucratic reforms, this will allow us to be far more nimble and strategic in mobilizing businesses around the world to advance our core priorities” and effectively change the way we deliver foreign assistance.
PSE Modernize answers that call. It enables USAID and the private sector to work together for more effective, efficient, and sustainable partnerships that address today’s global challenges. PSE Modernize introduces improvements to Agency systems to help staff and partners tap into the entrepreneurial and collaboration talents with our staff and partner organizations to ensure meaningful outcomes.
“As part of the Agency’s ongoing efforts to reduce bureaucratic burdens and empower staff to dedicate their time toward more impactful work, I am pleased to announce Private-Sector Engagement (PSE) Modernize, our plan to upgrade our systems to make PSE easier and faster for our entire workforce and partners. By making these long-overdue reforms, we hope to see a historic change in the scale, quality, and impact of our engagement with the private sector.” -Administrator Samantha Power, November 17, 2022
What is PSE Modernize?
The USAID Private Sector Engagement Policy creates a commitment to partnering with the private sector for greater commercial development, and humanitarian impact. The Policy builds a framework by which the private sector can leverage USAID’s experience addressing challenges across the world, as well as its capabilities, relationships, and operational know-how. With the launch of PSE Modernize, the Agency will deliver whole-of-society solutions quicker and more efficiently in every region and sector to help generate shared value for our stakeholders.
Building on the PSE Policy, PSE Modernize introduces specific reform initiatives that target critical Agency systems including human resources, data collection and reporting, relationship management, procurement, capacity building and measurement, field support, innovation, and community of practice. PSE Modernize contributes directly to the U.S. government goals to reduce bureaucracy and improve federal partnerships. It is a critical pathway to implement USAID’s vision to drive “Progress Beyond Programs.”
How Will Partners Benefit from PSE Modernize?
PSE Modernize enables USAID and partners to more effectively pursue enterprise-driven development approaches. PSE Modernize works across and within Agency systems and stakeholders to lower barriers for staff and partners to easily create impact through collaboration. With these reforms, USAID will create a streamlined and productive experience for its partners, reducing hurdles and increasing the Agency’s relationship impact with the private sector.
USAID’s partners will benefit from the reforms within PSE Modernize. They will experience a USAID that is better able to partner effectively for greater commercial and development impact in pursuit of shared goals. USAID partnerships will become more accessible through more innovative systems, programming, and approaches. USAID will be more data and evidence-driven in engagements, boosting alignment with the private sector and focusing on market-led development approaches that work. Here are three ways USAID will make partnering easier and more effective:
- A better partnering experience. PSE Modernize will improve the partner experience. We are building systems that provide comprehensive, real- time, and aligned data as well as improving our internal coordination to provide timely and relevant answers that our partners need to make decisions. Our partners will have a smoother experience working with USAID’s coordinated industry networks and information management systems. We are creating the systems and processes to help partners get to “yes” or “no” without the additional wasted time and effort.
- A workforce with the skills and incentives to partner. PSE Modernize is USAID’s commitment to elevating the workforce to meet the need for collaborative development solutions. PSE Modernize will increase knowledge and skills for current staff, while also transforming hiring systems to retain more private-sector talent. As PSE is further mainstreamed as a core operating principle inside the Agency, our partners will see more strategic partnership opportunities across our activities around the world.
- An evidence-based approach to partnering. While USAID has been considered a thought leader in private sector engagement in the development world, we are updating our engagement tools and approaches in response to the lessons learned with our business and industry partners. These new tools will also make it easier for industries to align with development goals, and for USAID to catalyze sustainable market growth.
Learn More and Engage with USAID PSE Modernize!
Learn more about how USAID is improving outcomes by partnering with the private sector. Stay tuned for updates and more details on how we are making it easier to partner for sustainable market-led development progress:
→ Subscribe to our PSE Exposure Blog to see how we partner for greater impact.
→ Follow us on Twitter at @USAIDEconomic to receive updates on PSE Modernize and learn how we are partnering effectively to accelerate development progress.
→ Learn more about partnering approaches on Marketlinks Private Sector Engagement and subscribe to receive updates on new resources, blogs, and events.