The business environment in Afghanistan is not well regulated, and often businesses are conducted informally without legal recourse. Investor protection is limited, the legal framework for dispute resolution is weak and dialogues between the public and the private sector is limited and not efficient. Building a tradition of dialogue, listening and negotiating compromises, are the best ways for governments to learn about the local private sector’s problems and adjust its policies accordingly to ensure the sector’s growth and development. Dialogue is also the best way for firms to foster a good business climate to help their operations.
Unfortunately, such dialogues are not well-organized and sometimes barely exist in many developing countries. That is why donors are keen to support PPDs within a wider context of efforts aimed at promoting the development of the private sector.
Interest in Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) is fairly recently introduced and is a growing phenomenon in Afghanistan.
The growing influence of the civil societies and stakeholders in industrialized and some emerging and less-developed countries have supported this trend, especially the involvement of the private sector in the design and implementation of policies and regulations related to the economic development, have naturally arisen. Public-Private Dialogue is particularly valuable in crisis, conflict and fragile environments to mitigate entrenched interests, rebuild trust and accelerate inclusive and sustainable growth. PPD mechanisms can also work towards resolving disputes and reconciling views of different stakeholders on particular issues.
Harakat seeks to support the establishment of a single and effective official Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) platform, potentially through advising by the High Economic Council (HEC) or PriSEC to serve this role.
Harakat encourages the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) and private sector to hold several meetings in 2020, in which private sector reforms, monitoring and reporting, accountability and resource allocation should be discussed.
Harakat-AICFO is going to provide effective support in BER. It will need to adopt more of a bottom-up approach for prioritisation and design of interventions. This means facilitating and promoting more effective stakeholder’s engagement and PPD. More dialogues between the government and private sector will provide greater certainty that the priorities are still valid and achievable.
Organise and moderate stakeholders’ consultation meetings in Kabul and provinces, including Mazar, Herat, Nangarhar, and Kandahar;
Raise awareness and develop methods of message delivery that might include traditional and conventional media to disseminate key messages and reports;
Facilitate to build a strong relationship between various relevant stakeholders. This results in better delivery, better understanding and might lead to new areas of interventions;
Establish accessible channels for various stakeholders to raise concerns about projects throughout two-way reporting to Harakat-AICFO management as well as the beneficiaries/stakeholders;
Manage and track progress and reports to stakeholders and investors;
Conduct continues PPDs to the private and public sector for trust-building between both sectors;
Coordinate several PPDs in different sectors to build a close relationship between private sector;
Conduct PPDs to eliminate the challenges and obstacles that the private sector faces;
Conduct PPDs to identify new barriers that the private sector is going to face; and
Conduct PPDs to pave the way for direct dialogues between different private sector entities.
Meisel (2004) describes how French government after World War II and until 1973 oil crisis (a period known as the Trente Gloriesuses) managed to co-ordinate and harmonize the growth expectations of social partners, create trust between trade unions, private firms, and the public sector and encourage investment through extensive dialogue between all the stakeholders.
The World Bank, in its 2001 report, analyzed how public-private dialogue supports growth and creates harmony between government and top businesses in Mexico and concluded that PPD helped in the 1990s to move from a situation of mutual suspicion to generate greater understanding, trust, and networking between government and top business leaders.