Tuesday, October 19, 2010

World Powers Promote Technological Innovation for Development

Last week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new fund: Development Innovation Ventures (DIV). Through this fund, USAID aims to combine private capital, free market competition, and good intentions in order to benefit both developing nations and private entrepreneurs throughout the world. It hopes to do this by bringing together business leaders, scholars and scientists, and local leaders in developing nations.

To support the new fund, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to the Commonwealth Club of California last Friday in San Francisco. There, she highlighted the potential of technology to improve people's everyday lives throughout the world, giving a variety of examples, including increased access to cell phones for women and solar power in Uganda.

Clinton emphasized the importance of "market driven solutions," which, when used effectively, can help further democracy and freedom throughout the world. While speaking about the importance of social entrepreneurship, she encouraged partnerships between the public and private sectors. Clinton's speech can be viewed, via C-SPAN, here.

Following suit of the U.S., the government of the U.K. recently started an "innovations fund," which international aid agencies can use to develop and share new technologies with the potential to support development in low-income countries.

-Elizabeth Newton