Private Sector Cycle

The "private sector" is increasingly promoted as a key partner in development in Africa, which raises many questions and debates within the development community. Who is the "private sector"? How is it involved in African agriculture? What are the challenges and opportunities for producers' organizations and their members? What are the relevant support mechanisms for the promotion of family farming and food and nutritional security?

Since 2017, Inter-réseaux Rural Development has been leading a thematic cycle on private sector involvement in African agriculture.

The objective is to mobilize members and partners to lead a collective reflection on this theme, to produce information and to promote it within the community of development actors.

The private sector thematic cycle currently gathers about fifty participants from different organizations (POs, NGOs, experts, researchers, TFPs, decision makers). The exchanges and debates will continue in 2021 and 2022 around different activities...

How to participate?
Join the "private sector" discussion list to receive thematic intelligence, share your experiences and thoughts, and participate in the cycle's activities.
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Three axes were addressed during the "private sector" thematic cycle. Discover below the results of the exchanges and collective work...

How have international firms and philanthropic foundations become key partners in the design and implementation of African policies? To what extent is the "private sector" influencing policy directions in the fight against food insecurity today? What are the issues raised by these new alliances?

From 2017 to 2019, discussions were conducted on these issues in a working group withInter-réseaux members and resource persons. Several information products were produced and promoted.

Collective publication

As a result of numerous exchanges, a publication on The Growing Role of the Private Sector in Agriculture and Food Policy in Africa was released in March 2019. Read the interactive PDF in English or French.


Four digital datavisualizations accompany this publication:

    • An interactive timeline on the multiplication of food security initiatives involving or promoting the "private sector";
    • An interactive graphic on the involvement of multinationals in food security alliances;
    • An interactive graph illustrating the strong interweaving of actors around AFAP (multi-stakeholder platform dedicated to the African fertilizer market);
    • An interactive graphic illustrating the ASIWA multi-stakeholder platform (dedicated to the seed industry in West Africa).


Based on the collective publication, an article was published in the December 2020 issue of the Knowledge for Development Journal dedicated to private sector partnerships.

The publication was also presented and debated during various exchange sessions in France, Belgium and Burkina Faso. In particular, a workshop on the role of the private sector in agricultural policies in Burkina Faso was organized in Ouagadougou (October 2019).

Monitoring and synthesis

The information and resources collected by the working group were used in :

  • A Watch Bulletin on Private Sector Involvement in Food and Nutrition Governance presents resources from the Watch (October 2018).
  • A summary bulletin summarizes the major issues and debates surrounding private sector involvement in agriculture and food policy (December 2018).

The incentive mechanisms put in place to encourage private investment in African agriculture were discussed by the working group. The information collected was valorized through :

Partnerships between companies and producers are put forward as a model for structuring supply chains to integrate small producers in a more equitable and sustainable way. What are the opportunities and risks of these partnerships? Which partnership models should be promoted for sustainable territorialized agri-food systems? What role for producer organizations (POs)?

Partnerships between POs and companies

Following a lengthy capitalization process that began in 2019, Inter-réseaux published in 2021 a synthesis of lessons learned on PO-business partnerships, conducted with IFAD.

This synthesis is mainly based on the lessons learned from the capitalization of four experiences, a literature review and the contributions of participants in the "private sector" thematic cycle. You will find below the four experience sheets:


Grain de Sel

The journal Grain de Sel ofInter-réseaux devotes a special issue to the private sector. Resulting from a broadly participatory process, this issue aims to provide a cross-section of views on the contribution of partnerships between producers and companies to territorialized food systems.

In addition, a gallery of portraits illustrates the diversity of African private actors involved in food systems.

Focus on the local milk sector

Inter-réseaux hosted an interactive webinar in September 2021 to explore the opportunities and challenges of different models for dairies involved in local milk processing. Watch the video clips HERE.

This webinar follows the publication of a thematic newsletter dedicated to the role of companies and POs in the development of local milk sectors.

An interview with Kossam Dairy, which develops digital services for farmers, was also published with CIRAD.

Focus Burkina Faso

Inter-réseaux conducted a case study on the private sector in the agri-food sector in Burkina Faso. It proposes an inventory of the actors and a mapping of support mechanisms. It invites discussion in order to identify good practices for supporting private agri-food operators, with regard to the involvement of family farmers in the sectors and food and nutritional security.

Large-scale distribution

Should we fear or rejoice in the "supermarket wave" in West Africa? In January 2021, Inter-réseaux devoted a newsletter to this question.

Throughout the cycle, Inter-réseaux is conducting a collaborative watch on the theme of the "private sector". Discover below a selection of resources from the watch.

Would you like to take part in the "private sector" thematic cycle ofInter-réseaux ? Share resources, experiences and/or thoughts? React and contribute to the debates and collective productions? Do not hesitate to write to us(

The animation of this thematic cycle is supported by

Cycle sur le secteur privé
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