Shaping the Future of Global Development


A recap of Opportunity Forward panel, Shaping the Future of Global Development.
How public-private partnerships (PPPs) are becoming a powerful force in global development.

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are becoming a powerful force in global development. No one sector can address the world’s most intractable issues alone. During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Conference: Opportunity Forward, leaders from the public and private sector met to share innovative ways they are working together to achieve shared goals.


As the world’s largest grocer, Walmart strives to provide quality food at affordable prices to help families save money and live better. Yet, as a global company, they are also concerned with questions of dignity at work, forced labor, poverty, and inequality of opportunity. Senior Director of Global Government Affairs at Walmart Stores, Inc. Sarah Thorn explained that these are intractable issues with no quick wins. To address these complex issues, Walmart is collaborating with diverse stakeholders. They are partnering with organizations such as the Consumer Goods Forum, Polaris, and the International Justice Mission as well as local law enforcement to address forced labor in supply chains.

United Nations Development Programme

With a presence in over 170 countries and territories, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is uniquely situated to convene diverse stakeholders, catalyze, and capitalize on innovative ideas to address complex economic and social issues. Global Private Sector Programme Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sahba Sobhani described how UNDP has engaged in partnerships with BCG and UPS to develop and implement more effective emergency preparation, response, and recovery strategies. They are also exploring how to mobilize capital for the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and recently published a report on de-risking renewable energy in Tunisia.

Global Communities

In a world of scarce resources, PPPs serve as a key resource for non-governmental organizations to leverage the unique assets of diverse actors, including financial support. President and CEO of Global Communities David Weiss described how Global Communities partnered with OPIC to support low-income, small business owners. Small businesses serve as a key driver of economic growth, providing income generation, employment, and key goods and services in local communities. Yet, in many parts of the world, banks won’t loan to low-income businesses. To address this challenge, OPIC put up loan guarantees and Global Communities provided training to loan officers and business owners so they could successfully navigate the lending and borrowing process. This collaborative effort helped support local development and provide meaningful employment in disadvantaged communities.

PPPs serve as an innovative tool in addressing issues as diverse as disaster response to economic development. Solving the world’s most complex problems requires collaboration. The future of development is long, but leveraging the unique strengths of diverse stakeholders will help to foster systemic change.