As US government cuts have threatened foreign aid budgets, government agencies are increasingly putting their faith in the private sector. Some of the world’s largest corporations, leaders argue, have the technical expertise and vast resources to complement traditional development aid.
A tide has dramatically shifted. Consider that in 1970 over 70 percent of financial flows from the US to the developing world came from government aid, and the rest came from the private sector. Today, more than 90 percent comes from private sources.
But as forged partnerships between public and private sectors gain prominence, questions arise about their transparency and their precise impact in the world.
The GroundTruth Project dispatched correspondents across Sub-Saharan Africa to answer these questions, to explore how these partnerships actually function and whether these models are indeed sustainable, effective and positive examples. The result is this GlobalPost ‘Special Report’ titled “Branding Health.”
Our reporting took us to the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Tanzania and Cameroon to look at partnerships between governments, NGOs, and some of the United States’ largest companies. Some of the partnerships had proven successful, some blurred the line between philanthropy and corporate profit, and for others, the results remained unproven beyond anecdotal evidence. For all, the question remains: where do these partnerships cross the line between charity and business as usual?