Winter Issue of Developments Now Available

January 26, 2012

The fall/winter issue of Developments is now available.

Heading up a team in one of the most challenging environments in the world, Suleiman Mohamed and Zaki Raheem are creating ambitious economic growth solutions in Somaliland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mohamed and Raheem write about the broad initiatives of the project—called the Partnership for Economic Growth—which include improving the region’s business environment, building a framework for energy regulation, increasing agricultural productivity, enhancing the livestock value chain, and promoting investment. The project works entirely through partnerships with Somaliland’s governance structures and its dynamic private sector.

Inside the issue, the focus is largely on DAI’s work in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In a Q&A, DAI Jordan Managing Director Jamal Al-Jabiri answers questions about the development effects of the ongoing Arab Spring, the investment climate in Jordan, and the MENA region’s most pressing need: jobs.

Next is an article on one of our most successful MENA projects—the USAID-funded Fiscal Reform Project II in Jordan. This project has literally written the book on improving government effectiveness in Jordan. Authors Steve Rozner and Eunice Heredia-Ortiz write about how the project has been able to exceed its objectives despite political uncertainty in the region due to the Arab Spring.

DAI’s information and communications specialists Krista Baptista and Joshua Haynes (who now works as a USAID fellow on Internet freedom initiatives) reflect on the use of social media in the Arab Spring—specifically in Tunisia and Libya—and, more importantly, on the use of social media in civil society strengthening going forward.

In Lebanon, DAI’s work in the water sector faces a pressing challenge: a lack of skilled water workers. USAID’s Lebanon Water and Wastewater Sector Support Program—implemented by DAI—is addressing this issue by training existing utility staff in areas such as business planning, finance and accounting, project management, computer literacy, and the operation and maintenance of utility equipment. The program also supports the utilities by funding and implementing business-process integration platforms that automate processes and improve resource allocation.

Also in MENA, leading water specialist Peter Reiss describes how one of our newest projects, the Further Advancing the Blue Revolution Initiative (FABRI), will build on the momentum of its predecessor project to catalyze new partnerships, approaches, and technologies in the arena of water resources, while Chuck Coon reports on a promising workforce development initiative by the USAID-funded Morocco Economic Competitiveness Program.

Writing from Sub-Saharan Africa, Christian Stolz discusses how our security sector reform project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo helped conduct a much-needed census of the police force—a vital first step in a U.K. Department for International Development program to improve security sector accountability in this troubled nation. Similarly focused on demand-driven approaches to improve public services, Barbara Seligman writes from Bangladesh on a citizen scorecard initiative that has boosted accountability and mitigated corruption in the health sector.

From the CEO’s desk, Jim Boomgard makes the case for local capacity development but takes issue with recent U.S. Government definitions of what exactly constitutes a “local” company. In describing the roots of locally run and DAI-majority-owned ECI_Africa_, which may be excluded from bidding on local USAID procurements under the new rules, he writes: “ECI is precisely the kind of local capacity-building venture that Americans should be nurturing: the DAI/ECI model demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. private sector to building local capacity, ensures that U.S. taxpayer-funded development dollars are spent accountably, and allows development best practices learned globally to be applied locally rather than reinventing the wheel.”

And finally, in the DAI_deas_ publication that accompanies this issue of Developments, we return to Somalia and look at one of the country’s most high-profile problems: maritime piracy. Approaching piracy as a land problem, stability specialist Duncan Varda offers a combination of four substantive solutions to address the problem.

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