This paper explores the paradigm of international development that has persisted for the past five decades, and asks whether a fresh approach is needed – one that builds on the developmental potential of the corporate sector, not just on donor aid.
This article explores both how corporations contribute to development and also the challenges in incorporating them into the wider processes of international development. This is achieved through the examination of two key sets of literature. The first is that regarding the effectiveness of the existing approach to international development. The second, smaller but growing, explores the impact that the corporate sector has had on raising countries out of poverty.
This paper finds that despite the cost and effort, most developing countries remain just that – developing. Where countries have developed, there is strong evidence to suggest that this has been the result, not of international aid, but of a thriving corporate sector. Yet companies remain outside the prevailing development paradigm, and their contribution to lifting countries out of poverty remains poorly understood. This paper makes a number of recommendations in relation to further research that is needed, and also policy approaches that need to be explored.
It is apparent from this paper that more and detailed scholarly work is needed to improve further our understanding of how companies contribute to development.
For policy makers this paper demonstrates an urgent need to develop better and more thorough‐going processes to engage with the corporate sector.
The role that companies play in international development remains under‐explored. This paper is therefore a novel contribution to this debate, and one that has significant implications for both the academic and policy communities.
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