Two days the High Level Panel participants needed to set the stage for development cooperation 2.0 where not only governments will drive the agenda but also the private sector has explicitly been invited to join hands with the state in striving for an inclusive development agenda.
However, a chinese entrepreneur made it clear right from the start that she had no altruistic intentions as the sole interest for her shoe factory to invest in Ethiopia were the low wages and related higher margins that she could obtain. She pointed to the fact that the wages were ten times lower than the wages in China.
This led to others pointing to the need to build structures for local accountability with involvement of civil society and parliament. The out-going co-chair Justine Greening of DFID was applauded for her role in bringing so many private sector parties on board. Possibly her successor Lilianne Ploumen (Dutch Secretary of State for Aid and Trade) may shift the focus to the role of parliaments and civil society as important facilitators for an accountable and responsible private sector development.
A number of strategic partnerships with Dutch CSOs are already piloted in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region. Lessons learnt will probably feed into the post 2015 era where cooperation with civil society will take a rather different shape from the current contract management approach.