Dr. Maura O’Neill is Senior Counselor and Chief Innovation Officer and leads Innovation & Development Alliances at USAID

As part of USAID’s 50th Anniversary, the Agency is celebrating Public-Private Partnership Week October 17-21, 2011 to highlight the mutual benefit that development and business have in establishing public-private partnerships (PPP) and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Global Development Alliance (GDA) program.

Today, at the apex of USAID’s Public-Private Partnership Week, Administrator Raj Shah is hosting a day long Partnership Forum on the Strategic Value of Connecting Business and Development.  Those gathered at the forum and watching the live-stream, twitter feeds, and press reports understand that development goals can benefit from the resources and talents of the private sector. What is less well known are the benefits that development has for business.  In the coming ten years, two thirds of global commerce will come from the developing world.  USAID has a proven track record of building market stability that benefits the global economy. Eleven of the fifteen largest importers of American goods and services are countries that graduated from U.S. foreign assistance.  Countries like South Korea, which, 50 years ago, was poorer than two thirds of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa was one of the largest recipients of American assistance in the years following the Korean War. USAID supported South Korea’s agriculture and industrial sectors, helping the country focus intently on an aggressive growth strategy. Today, USAID no longer provides assistance to South Korea; instead, the country is a net donor of foreign assistance as a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee. South Korea has now become a vibrant source of trade for America – it is currently the eighth largest market for American goods and services.

In 2001 USAID staff recognized the benefits that both the private sector and development have in working together and created the Global Development Alliances (GDA) program that models, facilitates, and builds alliances across sectors. In May of this year, OECD has cited USAID as a global leader in partnerships.  Today we celebrate GDA’s 10 years and its record of 3000 partners and 1000 alliances with a dynamic and interactive map of those partnerships, which will consistently be updated as we continue to monitor and evaluate the impact of USAID’s development work.

Today’s Partnership Forum is emblematic of USAID’s core development goals and the impact that public-private partnerships have on achieving sustainable outcomes.  White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett kicks off a day of panel discussions with CEOs, leading government reps, and key stakeholders to discuss the mutual benefits of the private sector and development for global health, sustainable bottom lines, women and girls, food security, and why these and each of the United States’ core development goals are beneficial to business.

Across USAID we are looking toward effective ways to bring together multi-stakeholders and the private sector and to build and create sustainable models for effective partnerships.  As we learn from the past and look to the future, we are proud of the 50 years legacy of working with the private sector in development goals.  USAID is an evolving organization.  We look to the future in how USAID can continue to be a leader in public-private partnerships.  And with our private sector partners we work toward USAID’s central goal: to create the global conditions in which development is no longer necessary.

I hope you will join us as we build strategic models that connect business and development to achieve the shared values of both.

Visit www.usaid.gov/pppweek for continuous updates and new announcements, and to view a live-stream of the October 20th Partnership Forum: The Strategic Value of Connecting Business & Development

To view a map of USAID public-private partnerships around the globe, visit http://idea.usaid.gov/