A recent survey of over 1,300 development professionals by Devex.com found that 91% see business as a positive force in socio-economic development of poor countries. 81% think increasing private sector involvement in global development is ‘very important’. Clearly business is no longer seen as “part of the problem” as it once was – not too long ago – by the international development community.
While the survey didn’t address business’ corresponding views of emerging markets, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows confirm that the private sector similarly sees promise in developing countries, where FDI outpaces overseas development assistance.
Yet the survey also points out that development professionals view the intersection between development and business in terms of three principal engagements: Public private partnerships; Corporate social responsibility; and Sustainable business. Business, on the other hand, is focused on new markets and revenue growth when investing in poor countries.
In this context of these warming, if not sometimes confused, relations between international development and business communities, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) convened leaders from around the world this week in New York to discuss war, climate change, pandemic, and human development: Not the typical stuff of board room conversations.
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