Development capture consists of influencing the decision-making of development agencies in order to leverage development finance and diplomatic weight for private interests.

The Mongolian case is emblematic because, on one hand, it displays the power of multinational corporations and States to join together, pressure, and ultimately capture the decision-making of a less powerful country. On the other hand, inherent in development capture is the vulnerability of the captured object, in this case the Mongolian State, which traded away its sovereignty in exchange for a huge mining project.

Another organization, The Sentry (U.S.),produces significant studies about the corporate capture of the State in development contexts. For example, the case of the Wagner Group’s presence in the Central African Republic shows how some multinationals operate with the assistance and in the interest of their home States (e.g. Russia), especially in contexts of geopolitical tension. China’s mining interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo are indicative of this as well.

Another example of development capture is CropLife International, a trade association representing the pesticide and biotechnology industries. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and CropLife have a formal alliance, which the Corporate Accountability Working Group (CAWG) fears could undermine the FAO’s ability to make decisions on agriculture without undue influence. CropLife International profits from the sale of products that impact biodiversity, ecosystems, and the health of farmers and indigenous communities.

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