Skærmbillede 2018 04 06 kl. 16.38.16  

 Skærmbillede 2018 04 06 kl. 17.07.46

 

Back-to-Back seminars at Aarhus University in April 

By Søren Jeppesen, Spokesperson, FAU & Associate Professor, CBDS, CBS

While realising that the timing of the reinvigorated FAU Conference did not fly in terms of a sufficient number of participants, FAU organised a smaller event i.e. two ’Back-to-Back’ seminars at Aarhus University, April 12-13.

During the two days, the participating crowd of 15 persons had a chance to engage with Dirk Willem te Velde from Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, Michael W. Hansen, Center for Business and Development Studies (CBDS), CBS and Ole Therkildsen, Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS). The three presenters dealt with each their aspects under the umbrella of ’Financing the SDGs and Private Sector’.

Dirk te Velde used the European Development Report 2015 as the backdrop for his presentation and discussion of the ’Experiences regarding state-business relations in Private Sector Development and the Implications for finansing the SDGs’. He touched upon a number of pertinent issues with a particular emphasis on the role of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) in bringing about funds for the SDGs and development in general. The first part of the presentation discussed the issues relating to ’Financing & Policies for the SDGs’. Dirk argued that the context has changed since the MDGs, and we now see much more domestic finance (public and private) being provided. This calls for a different, new approach as part of realising the SDGs. The second part of the presentation focused on the role of the Private Sector and DFIs in Financing the SDGs. As the DFIs are becoming more important in development, we need to understand their role and influence better. He argued that the DFIs had changed focus from mostly micro to also now macro and hence the DFIs needed to be part of assessing how we address global challenges throug appropriate policy responses. He backed the presentation with a range of different sector, firm and country examples. A vivid debate on the various roles of the state and the private sector followed the presentation, including constraints on realising the SDGs through involvement of the private sector.

The following day, Michael W. Hansen outlined his considerations on some of the developmental issues relating to Public-Private Partnerships using the example of the Danish Investment Fund (IFU) as an example. The presentation was titled ’DFIs and multinational corporations: Promoting development through FDI’. He outlined the shift from ODA toward financial solutions to the development challenges, and arguments pro and con the potential of DFIs intervening in FDI. He finally discussed the trade offs and dilemmas, like whether the many modalities and intervention logics of DFIs are well undestood relation to other development interventions; whether DFIs function based on an inherent conflict between host and home country industry interests? Michael argued that our limited knowledge on the mentioned topics should set the paramenters for an exciting research agenda. A variety of issues were raised as part of the debate following the presentation.

Finally, Ole Therkildsen provided inputs on a untraditional private sector context namely a refugee camp in Lebanon titled ’Capitalism and Job Creation in refugee camps’. Ole took point of departure in the Danish and European refugees ’crises’ or situation in 2015. He used Paul Colliers analysis on the situation versus the Danish self-perception of solidarity to highlight a variety of points regarding the long-term development issues related to displacement. His concerns focused on the claimed win-win-win situations where societies can gain advantages from a ’Compact’ approach to refugees and development – through keeping the refugees from reaching rich countries. He discussed the ’compact’ experiences from a camp in Lebanon and considered the possibilities and restrictions on private sector actvities in such a setting – by some viewed as ’an industrial zone’. While some jobs had been created, the scope of the achievements and the activities versus the magnitude of the problem was limited. Even more problematic seemed the precondition of the activity, like an attempt to maintain refugees in camp on the basis of a job offer while denying them the right to seek asylum. Also this presentation was followed by a vivid debate on a range of topics.