Development cooperation partners and partnerships

In implementing its development cooperation policy, the Dutch government works with various partners. These include the private sector, civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and research institutions. Cooperation enables knowledge, technology and networks to be pooled.

The private sector and development cooperation

The Netherlands wants to use development cooperation to promote a strong, sustainable private sector in developing countries. The government therefore encourages Dutch companies to work with companies and government authorities in developing countries.

Aid and trade are closely connected and they reinforce each other. The Dutch government works in many different ways with the private sector to achieve economic development. In doing so, it mainly focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For example, the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) supports SMEs in both the Netherlands and developing countries.

Civil society organisations and development cooperation

CSOs and NGOs play an essential role in a democratic society and provide a critical counterbalance to government and the market in both the Netherlands and developing countries. The Netherlands works through CSOs and NGOs on matters such as trade union work, equal opportunities and promoting human rights. CSOs and NGOs are in touch with groups of people that would otherwise be very difficult, if not impossible, to reach.

The Dutch government works with CSOs and NGOs through various programmes and funds. Examples include the Human Rights Fund.

Dutch embassies may also work with local CSOs and NGOs. The Netherlands does not just work with Dutch organisations. In fact it works chiefly with organisations in developing countries.

Research institutions and development cooperation

Dutch research institutions take part in aid-, trade- and investment-related research and are highly active at international level. The Netherlands is investing in a knowledge base for its policy through knowledge platforms.

The knowledge platforms were set up to support Dutch development policy. Various parties work together within them. They include the government, the private sector, think-tanks, universities, international institutions and civil society organisations. There is a knowledge platform for each of the four priorities of Dutch development cooperation policy:

  • sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
  • water
  • food security
  • security and the rule of law

A fifth, overarching platform is investigating how to ensure fairer, more sustainable economic growth in Africa so that everyone can benefit from it.

Improving vocational and higher professional education and training levels in developing countries

Good quality higher professional education enables countries to build their own skilled workforce. The aim of the Netherlands Initiative for Capacity Development in Higher Education (NICHE) is to strengthen higher and higher professional education in the Netherlands’ partner countries. These include Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana and Indonesia.

Developing countries also face a huge shortage of skilled workers. But both companies and organisations badly need skilled workers in order to function properly. Through the Netherlands Fellowships Programme (NFP), the Netherlands is raising levels of training in developing countries. Nuffic is responsible for its implementation.

Public-Private Partnerships and development cooperation

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) play a major role in implementing Dutch development cooperation policy. PPPs are partnerships between the government, the private sector, research institutions and civil society organisations. They contribute to poverty reduction in developing countries by encouraging economic development through market-oriented investment.