Involvement of the public and private sector in the development of the country’s economy has been the trend in the world for the past few decades. It is not possible to achieve any sector development by focusing interventions solely on the private or public sector. In fact, many of the challenges faced by the private sector can be overcome only in partnership with the public sector.
Development and governance programs in the private sector should be integrated into one comprehensive strategy of intervention. Public Private Dialogue (PPD) or collaboration is a prerequisite to implementing broadly supported organisational improvement in a holistic approach. PPD is essentially an organisational structure putting together a group of actors from the public and private sectors.
In the Sri Lankan context, one of the recent success stories is the National Export Strategy (NES). The strategy was drawn up with more than 750 public and private sector officials to drive the export growth of Sri Lanka. From the inception to implementation, private sector involvement was extensive. Chambers around the country are working together to make the NES a success.
One of the mechanisms followed by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) is the Advisory Committees (AC). ACs are comprised of public and private sector officials in the export community and they drive the NES and work together with the relevant industries to resolve issues faced by exporters and in the implementation of NES in a progressive manner.
Another success story is the 16th edition of the globally represented World Export Development Forum in 2016 (WEDF 2016) which was hosted by ITC jointly with EDB for the first time in Sri Lanka and was co-organised by the public and private sector as equal partners. This was attended by over 600 business leaders, policy makers, heads of trade, investment support institutions, and international trade officials, from more than 20 countries. A total of 136 Sri Lankan companies registered for the B2B met with a total of 116 international high-potential buyers across sectors such as tourism, information and communication technology (ICT), apparel and manufacturing. Almost 850 B2B meetings were facilitated at WEDF 2016, resulting in beneficial trade-led ties and export opportunities for Sri Lanka and the region.
Expo 2020 Dubai is the latest public-private collaborative project and it will contribute to achieving the Sri Lanka Vision 2025 by supporting the growth of tourism, stimulating the development of innovative businesses and enhancing the country’s international reputation as a location to do business. 26 product and service sectors have pledged to come on board during the six-month period to showcase Sri Lanka’s genuine offers to the world.
These are few examples of effective public and private collaboration within the export sector. There are and there will be challenges in all mechanisms and the effort taken to identify and resolve these issues using strategic interventions is the key to successful partnership with the public and private sector collaboration. However with the undying efforts of the public sector and continuous support of the private sector will lift up the country to a steady economic growth in the future.