Doing business with the poor - a field guide

Aid has its role in a needy world, but business, if undertaken responsibly, can be instrumental in providing long term, sustainable answers to poverty. This thinking sees people in developing countries more as partners and clients, and less as recipients or aid beneficiaries.

Private sector engagement of this kind may be undertaken at different levels. It could involve the manufacture or distribution of goods and services, in partnership with the poor, creating income at “Bottom of the Pyramid” level. E.g. the selling of sanitation, health care or food products. It could see partnerships between companies and governments in a way that strengthens the very infrastructure surrounding the poor and enabling them to have greater support in their battle with poverty. E.g. legal, medical, banking, educational and energy supply.

The non profit sector is crucial in this process as it can help guide efforts to places where they will be most strategic and provide grassroots level expertise and knowledge.

Further information


Partnership types

Doing business with the poor; Provision of services / personnel

Global issues

Community development

Business sectors

Advocacy and legal services