December 06, 2013
Nearly 170 members of the global development community came together this week at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural Council of International Development Companies (CIDC) Conference. Jim Boomgard, DAI President and CEO, co-chaired the event with Jan Auman, Tetra Tech President.
In his opening remarks, Boomgard focused on the evolution and challenges of development work. “Our work has evolved significantly over the past 20 years,” he said. “Our teams on the frontlines of development recognize and have embraced these changes. They have been instrumental in leading some [of these changes] and have adapted well to others.
Photos courtesy of the Professional Services Council
“[The] success of the development mission depends on strategy, program design, the quality and motivation of all team members, and a shared realism about what sustainable development results can be accomplished. The CIDC is one tool we can use to fine tune the alignment between our companies, customers, and stakeholders to improve the outcome of the development enterprise,” he said.
The conference included keynote speeches from Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Howard Berman, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, now a Senior Advisor with the law firm Covington & Burling, as well as breakout panels.
Shah called for the community of development practitioners to act with “one voice, [as] one team.” He stressed that the agency and its partners have a long future working together to eradicate extreme poverty around the world. He recognized the efforts of private development firms, citing a recent visit to the West Bank where he met with young entrepreneurs working with the Compete project.
Other USAID officials, including Liz Warfield, former India Deputy Mission Director, and Susan Reichle, Counselor, spoke an various panels about the agency’s internal challenges in finding its place in a rapidly changing landscape where development assistance represents just 15 percent of all financial flows to the developing world, and many countries no longer want to be seen as needing “aid.”
An initiative of the Professional Services Council, the CIDC was formed in 2011 to affirm the important role of private, for-profit development companies in the international development ecosystem and build bridges for better collaboration within the development community. It currently has more than 70 members.