Towards Transformational Impact: Synergies of Private Sector Engagement and Market Systems Development

  • Date Posted: December 17, 2021
  • Authors: Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP), Bronwyn Irwin, Anna Garloch, Daniella Maor
  • Organizations/Projects: Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP), DAI, and MarketShare Associates
  • Document Types: Primer or Brief
  • Donor Type: U.S. Agency for International Development


Man holds egg while standing inside a hen house in Indonesia. Photo: DAI Global.

This brief offers insights into how private sector engagement (PSE) and market systems development (MSD) can contribute to transformational impact, with a focus on opportunities for more intentional, strengths-based collaboration and learning.

For personal perspectives on these synergistic opportunities from USAID’s Market Systems Team Lead and the Deputy Director of the PSE Hub, check out this accompanying blog.

Key takeaways explored in the brief include:

  • PSE and MSD objectives can intersect in the ambition to drive transformation—systemic change that produces scaled, sustained results—and a shared embrace of the private sector as pivotal actors in catalyzing and investing in this process.
  • Aiming for transformational impact, there are opportunities to build on respective strengths— e.g., MSD can leverage PSE’s strengths in corporate relationship management, diverse investment, and partnership strategies; PSE can leverage MSD’s strengths in systems analysis, replication strategies, and metrics beyond dollars leveraged.
  • Important nuances remain in how PSE and MSD interpret and implement for transformation; understanding this can enhance effective collaboration and learning.

The visual below highlights a number of these strengths-based opportunities, or ‘pieces’ of the transformation puzzle, several of which are explored in the brief. It does not suggest a merging of PSE and MSD approaches into one, but rather a more intentional exchange of tactics, modalities, and learning to advance the ambition and opportunity that both PSE and MSD approaches offer to facilitate transformational impact.

PSE and MSD Strengths


This brief is intended as a launchpad for additional initiatives that offer targeted guidance and case studies, build capacity, and strengthen networks. The Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships Activity (MSP), for example, intends to develop a series of short vignettes in 2022 to highlight practical examples.

The Feed the Future MSP Activity is advancing learning and good practice in MSD and PSE within USAID, USAID partners and market actors. For more information, access to technical resources and opportunities to engage, visit