Networks are an important means for developing countries to exchange knowledge and speed their economic development. By working through an integrated and networked approach, multilateral stakeholders, national and local governments as well as private entities are better equipped to approach development processes in a more effective, inclusive and transparent way.
Funded by the government of Spain’s MDG Achievement Fund, the Networks for Prosperity initiative focuses on creating a global management system for the development of the private sector. The system aims to enhance the United Nations’ knowledge capabilities in the field of private sector development (PSD) by improving its institutional readiness to deliver policy advice, build institutions’ capacities and implement pilot projects. With a focus on working especially at a country level, the initiative aims to facilitate developing countries’ access to PSD-related knowledge, in accordance to their needs and requirements.
In November 2011 the Networks for Prosperity initiative published its first report, ‘Networks for Prosperity: achieving development goals through knowledge sharing’, which established a Connectedness Index that measures countries’ knowledge networks and links their level of connectedness with economic development indicators. To determine the Connectedness Index, the report took into account international, inter-organizational and intra-organizational networks established by each country.
The second report prepared by the initiative, ‘Networks for Prosperity: connecting development knowledge beyond 2015’, was launched as a side event of the Global South-South Development Expo in November 2012. This report updates the previous year’s information on the Connectedness Index and increases the number of countries analyzed from 75 to 132.
In November 2013, the Networks for Prosperity initiative published its third report, titled ‘Networks for Prosperity: Partnering for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development’. The report has been jointly prepared by UNIDO and the Centre for Global Governance Studies in Leuven, Belgium, and focuses on the role of networks as facilitators for policy learning, information exchange and dissemination on a range of policy issues.
The 2014 report, 'Advancing Sustainability Through Partnerships', sheds light on the role that networks, platforms and partnerships will play in achieving inclusive and sustainable development. It introduces an updated version of the Connectedness Index and discusses how the degree to which countries are networked at various levels has evolved over the years.
Networks for Prosperity has developed a comprehensive view of the relevance of knowledge networks in the context of economic development programmes, and how they can be used as a tool for improving policy effectiveness and economic governance. It has thus facilitated the creation and building of knowledge networks in the field of PSD policy and has opened opportunities for increased PSD knowledge networking among developing countries. The initiative is expected to have a considerable impact on the understanding and use of South-South networks in development strategies and programmes, in particular in the field of economic development.