…On April 3rd Rajiv Shah, the head of USAID, the international development arm of America’s federal government, unveiled the biggest change to aid policy since the [Millennium Challenge Corporation]: a new agency called the US Global Development Lab.
The Lab will start with a staff of 150, 65 of them scientists, many seconded from some 32 private-sector partners ranging from universities to companies such as Microsoft, Nike and Walmart, as well as charities including Care and Catholic Relief Services. From its base in Washington, DC, it will work with seven labs in universities across the country. Its aim will be to find new ways of ending extreme poverty by 2030, as well as meeting more immediate targets: for example, providing digitised agricultural data (market prices, weather warnings) by mobile phone to 42m small farmers in Africa within five years, and providing affordable off-grid energy to 40m people.
The Economist: USAID Creates Global Development Lab, Using Tech Against Poverty
April 4, 2014 by Jim Stipe