Archive for the ‘International Development’ Category

Secretary Clinton reveals international development goals: focus on investment

January 8, 2010

Secretary Clinton focused on investment in international development as the U.S. administration’s 2010 mantra.

The approach is country-led investment with a focus on results. This isn’t a new idea, of course. Millenium Challenge Corporation has taken this successful approach for the past five years. 

Discussions between defense, diplomacy and development departments as well as development organizations led to decisions about approach to development. Or at least, the beginning stages of changes. Clinton’s speech on definitive changes, incidentally, evoked an encouraging  roar of applause from both the development agencies and heads of state departments present at for her speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics  on January 6th.

“But through investment, we seek to break the cycle of dependence that aid can create by helping countries build their own institutions and their own capacity to deliver essential services. Aid chases need; investment chases opportunity,” said Secretary Clinton.

With a focus on results, international development programs will look to achieve five goals:

1. Partnership

Countries must demonstrate a commitment to development by practicing good governance, rooting out corruption, making financial contributions to development. Strong economic policies are also a prerequiste. Secretary Clinton cited two examples: levying taxes on those who can afford them and managing  natural resources sustainably and devoting some of the profits to people’s development.

Partnerships with other organizations also play an important role in international development. Some foundations are also combining philanthropy and capitalism through entrepreunerial programming such as Acumen Foundation. Private companies also play a valuable role in sustainable development, according to Secretary Clinton.

“A company like…Unilever/Hindustan, which has created soap and hygiene products that the very poor – long-overlooked by private business –can afford,” said Secretary Clinton.

2. Integrate development more closely with defense and diplomacy efforts

Intregated efforts between the three Ds of forien policy, (defense, diplomacy and development) is essential for success abroad, according to Secretary Clinton. The U.S. government can ” leverage the expertise of our diplomats and our military on behalf of (international) development (workers),” said Secretary Clinton.

3. Coordinate development across Washington,D.C.

A growing problem is the number of agencies broaden their scope internationally, adding  important expertise and capacity, and working the same developing issues from different angles. This creates overlap and contradiction between development efforts. 

As attracting investment and expanding trade are critical to development, the U.S. administration encourages coordination between development programs  (USAID, MCC, and other agencies) with the trade and investment initiatives (USTR, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation).

Regional efforts are also being supported and recognized as examples of regional coordination like the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.

Also, there is also an effort underway to bring contractor workers  back to work for government agencies. 

 “It is not financially sustainable, said Secretary Clinton. “We cannot continue to send so many dollars out the door with no monitoring, no evaluation, no accountability.”

By bringing contract workers back into government organizations, the return on the investment in human capital will be greater, according to Secretary Clinton.

4. Sectoral work

In the past, the U.S. worked in all areas possible for international development. The U.S. administration is taking a new approach. Investment and technical expertise of U.S. development agencieswill be focused on a few key sectors: health, agriculture, security, education, energy, and local governance.

“Rather than helping fewer people one project at a time, we can help countries activate broad, sustainable change,” said Secretary Clinton.

5. Technology

Through technology rural neighborhoods in developing nations can move decades ahead with just access to the internet and mobile phones.

Secretary Clinton cited farmers learning the latest local market prices and know in advance when a drought or a flood is on its way through mobile phones. Mobile banking gained access to savings accounts or money sent from overseas  through cell phones as well, according to Secretary Clinton. Activists used blogs and social networking sites to hold governments accountable for how they use resources and treat their citizens: an opportunity to raise transparency on corruption and repression in developing countries, said Secretary Clinton.

Secretary Clinton also mentioned that the sees expanding development programming coming State department, USAID, multi-lateral institutions such as World Bank and even stimulus money. She pointed out that the administration would “very much like to see (American technology) used” and supporting development programs is one way to creatively development American economy and help developing countries at once. The details of how this would work is still being considered. Clinton says  that as the Geneva Accord will be the subject of meetings throughout the year. She is hopeful that ideas such as American technologies use in developing countries might be a consideration.

6.  Investment on women and girls

Women and girls are critical to advancing a country’s social, economic, and political stance globally. Future development programs  with a focus on improve women’s health, income, and access to education and food.

Programming is in progress which focuses on women farmers, or women health educators to improve outreach to women and girls. Also, there is more discussion with partner countries to play a more central role in development work. Senator Clinton mentioned new scholarships  for female agricultural scientists in Kenya.

These goals mentioned above might be altered or adjusted according to the results of the inaugural Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review  (due to be completed in earl spring) and  The Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy.

For access to Clinton’s entire speech visit: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/01/134838.htm

GPS puts rural African town on map

January 5, 2010

On the map, Kibera, Niarobi is a blank spot. Not any more.

With the help of a global positioning system (GPS), many willing volunteers and a great deal of technical support from the OpenStreetMap team, Kiberia has been charted and documented for all the world to acknowledge online!

The project  was spearheaded by an OpenStreetMap team in collaboration with JumpStart International, and other partners including Jubal Harpster of WhereCampAfrica, the Social Development Network, Pamoja Trust, Hands on Kenya and Carolina for Kibera, according to AllAfricaNews.com.

OpenStreetMap, a project aimed specifically at creating and providing free geographic data such as street maps, is open to any online user. The project, which now has 200,000 users and  is available in 41 languages, began because many maps that are believed to be free actually have legal or technical restrictions for use, according to the company Web site. Contributors to OpenStreetMap take handheld GPS devices with them on journeys, or go out specially to record GPS tracks, according to OSM. Participants record street names, village names and other features using notebooks, digital cameras, and voice-recorders. It is the responsibility of participants to find the funding for the equipment. The maps are  then uploaded on the internet and can be edited by anyone to provide additional information.

OpenStreetMap, based on the German street mapping system created by Mikel Maron, allows users to access the map and add details through a wiki, or public space to add and edit information freely.

The map will point out landmarks such as churches and mosques, schools, businesses, restaurants, the premises of organisations working in the area and government administrative offices, Marion told AllNewsAfrica. He says the project is not aimed at collecting demographic data, but rather consolidating information on public infrastructure.

GPS functionality available in smart phones such as iPhones and Blackberry phones could make it possible to do plan maps. There are even specific applications on the iPhone beyond providing basic directions from starting and ending points. All iPhones also offer: Mappity Quakes, a simple earthquake viewer, Trails, records, exports and imports tracks, and MotionX GPS, maps biking, hiking, sea and skiing trails and could be useful in planning ecotourism spots. 

“With this kind of knowledge it will be possible to speak from an informed point of view regarding planning of the area in terms of infrastructure. For instance we can flag how many health centres are available, where they are and what needs to be added,” Maron explains. 

 

For those interested in joining a work group, donating funding or participating in a creating a street mapping system in your town, visit: http://www.openstreetmaps.org.

Young Entrepreneurs Unite in November

November 25, 2009

A week of social entrepreneurship began November 16th around the world.

Opportunity, inspiration and a whole lot of innovative energy took place at the second annual Global Entrepreneurship Week.  The local events and activities were run by youth under 30 years old.  Events included global and local competitions, panel discussions with mentors, and skill-building games. Youth organizers were encouraged to seek local community administrators, entrepreneurs and mentors to participate in their local entrepreneurship event.  

The New York Stock Exchange Euronext, an entrepreneurship foundation hosted the second annual “Mentoring Madness” event at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan.  The event featured guest star entrepreneurs: Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus, Blake Mycoskie, Founder of TOMS Shoes; Stephen Hanson, Founder and President of B.R. Guest Restaurants; and Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group. MtvU “Movers & Changers” competition will select their winner; a prize worth USD $25,000 in start-up funds.

Currently, there were a total of 4999 activities planned for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2009.

Competitions encouraged social responsibility, leadership and innovation.Global Cleantech Open Ideas Competition seeks new ideas for technologies, products, marketing campaigns or systems working to solve energy and environmental issues. Global Cleantech Open Ideas.com sponsored and provided judges for the competition. The winner receives prizes, designed to jump-start the fledgling companies. EcoFactor.com was the grand prize winner of $250,000 and an additional $100, 000 in seed capital. This company entered the contest with a personalized residential energy management solution for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

There were two student contests. The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards is a competition for undergraduate students running a business. The competition is run by Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a community of entrepreneurs worldwide. The winner will receive USD $150,000 in cash and prizes. Canandian Milun Tesovic of Simon Fraser University won for his MetroLyrics, his popular music lyrics Web site. The Prince’s Youth Business International Award was the only award determined by the online community. Youth Business International asks voters to chose from the top 12 nominees drawn from a pool of entrepreneurs 40 different countries. Argentinian Juan Ramón Nuñez won this year’s award for his audiovisual business, The Light of Sound.

The judges said, “We chose Juan Ramón because he displays a true entrepreneurial spirit of not accepting his lot, striving against adversity and identifying a market and then attacking that market through a scaleable business. He is a true inspiration and we wish him success in the future.”

Last year, Global Entrepreneurship Week featured only one competition for top young entrepreneur sponsored by Make Your Mark. African Carribean Society (ACS) won a day’s consultation with Kwiqq. ACS is a student-led network which seeks to connect people of African and Caribbean cultures through social, cultural and educational activities in the UK. ACS now has 20 participating universities throughout the UK. The organization also won the Rising Star Award 2009 from NW EMBF.

The online community inspired and fueled each other by contributing to the community page, Speed the Global Network. Video chats, forum discussions and messages can be posted on the community page by leadership from different communities as well as entrepreneur enthusiasts. Participants also connected and shared documentation of their events on the social media channels such as Facebook, UTube, Flickr and Twitter.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week began five years ago an event spear-headed by UK Enterprise, an organization fostering entrepreneurship in the UK. Last year, UK Enterprise turned their annual entrepreneurship week into a global event. There were 3.06 Million participants from 77 countries.

The sponsor of Global Entrepreneurship Week was NYSE Euronext.