Government and the private sector are often seen to be at odds, with what are sometimes perceived as divergent interests leading to friction in their interactions. However, in a recent op-ed, 2020 Amujae Leader Malado Kaba explained that the COVID-19 pandemic could provide a turning point for greater collaboration:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decisive shift towards public-private collaboration. Businesses cannot thrive without an already thriving society, and so are beginning to recognize that in times of crisis, private and public interests are not just related but intertwined.”
Ms. Kaba wrote in Apolitical about how businesses can learn from three principal strengths of governments: the ability to convene partners, take a long-term view, and focus on delivering wide-ranging social impact.
She highlighted examples seen during COVID-19 that demonstrated strong collaboration between the public and private sectors, such as efforts to deliver public-health communications across the continent, partnerships to provide isolation hotels and manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) in Rwanda, and her own efforts in Guinea to connect tech developers with funders to create contact-tracing apps. She wrote:
“Bringing together multiple sectors around a common goal is the most efficient way to promote inclusion and make progress.”
Adopting a longer-term vision—both in partnership with and independently of government—will give businesses more opportunity to improve their economic performance, and allow them to incorporate positive social impact into their targets, Ms. Kaba argued:
“Now more than ever, the private sector recognizes the need for companies to take greater care of the environmental, social, and corporate governance impact of their activities, as well as actively seek to deliver positive social returns.”
To conclude, she highlighted what it will take for the recent increase in collaboration between government and business evident during the pandemic to continue once it recedes:
“If that relationship is to last beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, both sectors will have to show willingness to learn from one another.”
You can read the full article in Apolitical here.