February 27, 2012
Technology and innovation ought to shape the work being done in developing countries but are not being sourced or scaled in ways that meet key development challenges, according to DAI’s Kristi Ragan, Chief of Party for USAID’s Grand Challenges for Development.
Collaboration with the private sector can lead to commercializing technologies that are changing lives in Africa. “Mobile phones and the Internet, for example, are a force multiplier for gathering ideas and delivering solutions,” said Ragan, a featured panelist at New York University’s Stern School of Business’ inaugural Stern Africa Forum. “Their use should be integral to international development projects, but too often are afterthoughts.”
Ragan helped lead the panel discussion, “Africa’s Crossroads: Intersection of Public, Private, Non-Profit Approaches to Africa’s Emergence,” at the February 23 event in New York City. The panel included experts in structuring large-scale deals for Africa that promote higher education and small-scale investment in agribusinesses.
The forum was themed “Redefining Africa: Innovative Business and Frontier Investments in Emerging Africa” and featured keynote speaker Adebayo Ogunlesi, chairman of Global Infrastructure Partners, a New York-based $5.6 billion investment fund.
Ragan, a longtime leader of DAI’s public-private partnership initiatives, spoke of successes and failures in public-private partnerships and of a new vision for crowd-sourcing solutions and ideas that could include roles for the private sector—including venture capitalists and private equity.
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