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HP05 - SDG 17 and the Business of Development and Humanitarian Partnerships

Convened by Lisa Ann Richey (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark) and Herbert Hambati (Dept. of Geography, University of Dar es Salaam)

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Today, the field of development encompasses much more than international donor agencies or state to state development aid. With the universal acceptance of the SDGs, and especially SDG 17 promoting partnerships, we have witnessed the emergence of new corporate actors and alliances within development and humanitarianism. From consumer brands to Google’s hackathons to celebrities, the development field is becoming saturated with new players that aim to “disrupt” the traditional development industry through their “new innovative solutions”. Yet with what consequences? How does South-driven development and humanitarian helping figure in these partnerships? Are Southern businesses involved in SDG ‘partnerships’ as meaningful players or are they sidelined by global brands? This panel calls for new research on the politics of business partnerships:  who are the new actors and alliances linking global elites in the service of development or humanitarian goals? Where is the money today in the business of development? How does accountability work or not in these cases? Which theories are most useful for understanding the neoliberalisaton of development?