Extant literature on digital platforms is predominantly centred on the Global North, resulting in a paucity of research on the implications of digital platforms for developing countries. Against this backdrop, a recent research stream has focused on digital platforms in developing country contexts, with a view of understanding the affordances and limits of platforms as a route to socio-economic development. This paper seeks to contribute to this nascent literature, unpacking a human-centred development logic as an alternative to the market logic that animates most of the platforms discourse and relying on it to lay the foundations for an emerging theory of platforms for development. Two sub-linkages, centred respectively on platforms’ openness and modularity, are conceptualised and illustrated with examples from empirical research. This work has implications for the emerging literature on digital platforms for development, and for theorising platforms in the context of information systems and societal challenges.