Giving as “De-risking”: philanthropy, impact investment and the pandemic response

Sklair, Jessica and Gilbert, Paul (2022) Giving as “De-risking”: philanthropy, impact investment and the pandemic response. Public Anthropologist, 4 (1). pp. 51-77. ISSN 2589-1715

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (334kB)
[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Download (412kB)


This article examines the role played by philanthrocapitalist foundations in impact investing for international development, focusing on the covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Initiative (covax) as a response to the current pandemic. Philanthrocapitalists and development institutions are increasingly turning to “blended finance” and “social bonds” to address the gaps in funding required to meet global development agendas, particularly in the arena of global health. These impact investing mechanisms deploy public or philanthropic money to leverage for-profit investment in development, by “de-risking” (providing guarantees for) interventions that might otherwise put private capital at risk. Via covax, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has platformed a pandemic response centred on this approach, resisting alternative responses – such as the proposal for a temporary waiver to pharmaceutical patent rights – that seek to challenge the prevailing trade architecture. The global policy response to covid-19 thus accelerates the “financialization” of development and cements the role of philanthropy in “de-risking” for-profit impact investment.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Philanthrocapitalism, Impact investing, Covid-19, COVAX, TRIPs, De-risking, Patents
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2022 07:47
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2022 11:30

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update