DFID’s Economic Development Strategy  was published earlier this year.  Yesterday the BERF team discussed with DFID the question of how BERF could be used to help DFID country offices implement the strategy.

BERF is very well aligned with the DFID strategy.  In particular:

  • The DFID strategy includes a focus on supporting countries to improve their enabling environment for business.  BERF is designed to help achieve this;
  • The DFID strategy aims to use DFID’s country presence, knowledge and expertise to bring eocnomic opportunity to some of the world’s most fragile states.  Working in Fragile and Conflict Affected States (FCAS) is a key theme of BERF.
  • The DFID strategy focuses on the poorest and most marginalised people, the majority of whom work in the informal sector.  It places the economic empowerment of women at the heart of the approach.  Gender is a key theme of BERF.  BERF also has a strong focus on Youth.
  • The DFID strategy seeks to focus on investment to spur economic growth in developing countries, whilst focusing on sectors that can unlock growth.  BERF is very well placed to support sectoral analysis, as we have done especially in Mozambique, Pakistan, and Kenya.

A number of important elements of the DFID strategy could be supported through BERF as appropriate.  These might include, in particular:

  • Focusing on international trade as an engine for poverty reduction.  BERF for example is working on the export strategy in Kenya, and the research in Pakistan considered international trade elements of priority sectors;
  • Making it easier for companies, including from the UK, to enter and invest in markets of the future. BERF would be well placed to help partner countries to target Business Environment Reform strategies which promote Foreign Direct Investment;
  • Building a sharper focus on human development and skills for work into economic development programmes.  BERF could be used to strengthen the enabling environment for work skills for example.

DFID’s strategy provides sample indicators in Chapter 5 for assessing and reporting progress.  It would be helpful to DFID for BERF to report against the relevant elements of the Economic Development Strategy.