Policy discourse on private sector development in fragile states has started attributing great importance to domestic entrepreneurship. This chapter follows Dutch initiatives to support entrepreneurs in South Sudan between 2009 and 2015. Despite the rhetoric, support for entrepreneurs did not materialise. Donor representatives refer to a lack of small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurial skills as prime reasons. Our research reveals that in practice, the apolitical interventionist rationale characterising donor support in South Sudan conflicts with the politicised nature of the private sector. In fact, interventions side-line domestic entrepreneurship, reinforcing an image of a ‘missing middle’ and diverting attention to international firms as ‘capacity builders’.

International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Twijnstra, R., & Hilhorst, T. (2017). Blind Spots: Domestic Entrepreneurship and Private-sector Development in South-Sudan. In People, Aid and Institutions in Socio-Economic Recovery. Facing Fragilities. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/101673