The debate about the private sector’s engagement in global development efforts should focus on how to harness the sector’s dynamism instead of on whether or not it has a relevant role in the field, according to a U.K.-based think tank expert.
“The question is not whether the private sector is relevant to development, but how better to harness the dynamism of companies and the market,” Peter Davis of the Overseas Development Institute’s private sector and markets team, writes on “The Sustainable Business Blog” of the Guardian. “At present, the private sector has significant developmental impacts but these are poorly understood and largely ignored by the donor community.”
Davis adds that the international community should accept that private corporations are not social development organizations and should not expect or want them to be as such.
“The donor community needs to overcome its distaste for the profit motive and realize that this is what drives the innovation and dynamism of the private sector,” Davis writes. “It can present benefits as well as costs, opportunities as well as threats and advantages as well as disadvantages. In development terms, the private sector is neither a good thing nor a bad thing; it is a necessary thing.”
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