The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require and are helping normalize a radical shift in development finance. The previous focus on raising donor contributions in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA, or ‘foreign aid’) is being surpassed by the call for private finance to fund the SDGs. A growing role for ODA in this vision of moving from ‘billions to trillions’ is to leverage investment from business, venture capital, sovereign wealth funds and other non-state sources. In this commentary, I argue that any analysis of the SDGs must be attentive to the possibilities and risks of the emerging development finance regime that they are helping legitimate.

Publication date