Weekly Briefing (6/18/2012 – 6/22/2012)

June 18: Last Friday, The Guardian published a story highlighting the importance of advancing water supply and sanitation. USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer, MauraO’Neill, cited the benefit of working with the private sector to address development needs. “Increasingly, we are co-creating solutions [with private companies] around a big, difficult development problem,” O’Neill says. USAID is hoping to promote more of these kinds of advances through its Development Innovation Ventures fund, a government program that operates like a venture capital fund for new ideas in development.

June 18: The Guardian also highlighted USAID’s and PEPFAR’s (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) support for an HIV/AIDS clinic in South Africa. Nearly 130,000 patients have visited the clinic since it opened in 2007. The clinic treats an average of 250 people a day and it is currently providing more than 3,500 patients with Antioretroviral therapy (ART) in their fight against HIV/AIDS.

June 19: In a recent interview with Forbes, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah discussed the importance of effective public-private partnerships, the role of social entrepreneurs and social innovators in accelerating progress, and why cross-sector collaboration is critical to tackling today’s most important development challenges.

June 19: The Financial Times reported that last March, USAID sent its first cohort of field investment officers to the Agency’s Missions in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, Egypt, Peru and Ukraine. The purpose of the deployment is to inject capital markets expertise into USAID’s field offices, ensuring the local private sector becomes a critical component of USAID programming. The field officers will initiate innovative deals that leverage private financing and facilitate linkages between investors and the local private sector for development activities.

June 21: The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah) highlighted USAID’s efforts to end preventable child deaths before their 5th birthday. Citing an MSNBC interview with Dr. Rajiv Shah, the USAID Administrator brought a backpack on air, demonstrating the supplies used to save children’s lives. “I wanted to illustrate that most of what it takes to save these kids’ lives costs less than $30 and fits inside this backpack,” said Shah.