Corey Arnez Griffin is a pioneer in the public-private partnership sphere. As director for international development at Microsoft, he brokered a first-of-its-kind collaboration between his company, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Millennium Challenge Corp. in 2007.
“The agreement set the stage for broader collaboration across agencies focused on the U.S. development agenda,” Griffin said.
In 2010, Griffin launched the Global Government and Industry Partners, or 2GIP, a firm that aims to facilitate and manage public-private partnerships.
“Development agencies funded by governments will always be limited in their capacity to solve development challenges,” he said. “Leveraging the private sector’s interest in delivering [corporate social responsibility] initiatives and the ‘bottom line’ play inherently creates sustainability in international development.”
Public-private partnerships, he noted, make financial sense for the private sector as well as provide new resources for the international development community.
“For an [information communications technology] company, one only needs to look at the mobile phone growth to understand the vastness of the market opportunities on the continent of Africa alone,” he said. “Partnerships provide the private sector firm with the great opportunity to understand the market, test and introduce new products and services, access new markets, and do good!”
Convincing the international development community to embrace ICT — another focus of Griffin’s work — has proved to be challenging, Griffin added.
“While I made tremendous strides in raising the awareness of ICT and its benefits in the aid, trade, and finance community, the development community continues to have a very narrow view of how technology can be leveraged and used to solve development challenges,” he said.