The Private Sector and Poverty Reduction

Oxfam International 'From Poverty to Power' Background Paper

28 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2015

See all articles by Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth

Oxfam GB

Sumithra Dhanarajan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Liam Wren-Lewis

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

Many commentators claim a key role for the private sector in reducing poverty. This can be achieved through direct benefits, such as the adoption of ethical business practices and the provision of employment, goods, and services to the poor; and through indirect positive impacts on macro-economic policy and business development. This paper argues that the likelihood of business impacts being pro-poor depends also on wider policy and structural conditions. These include the importance of poor people in a company’s business model, and the length of local investment and commitment that this demands. Case studies of three companies demonstrate the importance of legislation and civil society as catalysts for pro-poor change in business. Leadership from within the company and a strong business case are also essential. However, multiple entrenched problems with modern capitalist systems work against positive change within international business. Overcoming or mitigating these will be necessary if the pro-poor potential of he private sector is to be realised.

Suggested Citation

Raworth, Kate and Dhanarajan, Sumithra and Wren-Lewis, Liam, The Private Sector and Poverty Reduction (2006). Oxfam International 'From Poverty to Power' Background Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2659225 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2659225

Kate Raworth

Oxfam GB ( email )

274 Banbury Road
Oxford OX2 7DZ
United Kingdom

Sumithra Dhanarajan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

Liam Wren-Lewis (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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