The Private Sector and Humanitarian Action

Authored by: Alastair McKechnie

The Routledge Companion to Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415844420
eBook ISBN: 9780203753422
Adobe ISBN: 9781135013936


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The private sector can be a partner to humanitarian action in fragile as well as in more resilient situations. Indeed, the private sector is often already engaged in roles such as service provision, logistics, donor, supplier and technical advising. This chapter sets out some mutual advantages of humanitarian actors collaborating with the private sector in fragile states. The international humanitarian system is stretched to respond to complex challenges that it cannot meet alone. Private firms can mobilize additional capacity and resources and extend their business. There are already examples from Haiti and Kenya on how mobile phone technologies provided by for-profit firms have the potential to provide cash-based transfers to disaster-affected citizens at a lower cost than traditional humanitarian approaches (Bailey 2014; Drummond and Crawford 2014).

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