The unusual suspect? The private sector in knowledge partnerships for agricultural and rural development

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Knowledge Management for Development Journal
In September 2015, the member states of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly agreed on Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a transformational programme to address the problems facing the global community, including poverty, gender inequality, and climate change (UN, 2015). It is widely considered that to achieve this ambitious agenda, global efforts will need to involve and harness the private sector. Against this background, the private sector is receiving increasing prominence in agricultural and rural development. Not only small businesses in the global South but also multinationals are being courted by bilateral and multilateral development agencies, like the US Agency for International Development (USAID, 2020) and the UN itself (UN Joint Inspection Unit, 2017), as a way to increase the impact of public funds. The CGIAR, identifying itself as ‘the world’s largest global agricultural innovation network’i considers partnering with the private sector as a strategic opportunity for impact at scale and to contribute to the SDGs (CGIAR, 2020). This emphasis is part of a ‘rapidly deepening normative discourse that positions the private sector as an active development agent’ (McEwan et al, 2017: 29), potentially seeing the private sector as the ‘magic bullet’ to solve development problems. In this Special Issue, we recognise this growing normative discourse – also discussed by Marie Hur and Liora Stührenberg’s paper on governance of food and nutrition security policy in this issue – but, through research, we also want to examine critically what the private sector has to offer global development in terms of knowledge management. Against this background, appropriate efforts and mechanisms to work in concert with private enterprise are crucial.
Private sector, Knowledge partnerships, Agricultural, Rural development
Chavez-Tafur, J., Cummings, S., Dentoni, D., Kiwanuka, S., Körner, J., Seferiadis, A. A., & Staiger, S. (2020). The unusual suspect? The private sector in knowledge partnerships for agricultural and rural development. Knowledge Management for Development Journal, 15(2), 1-10.