Speaking at last month’s Clinton Global Initiative, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a bold statement: “You cannot have development in today’s world without partnering with the private sector.”
A proclamation that might have raised eyebrows just a few years ago was met with widespread agreement in the development community, and the shift reflects how deeply attitudes toward engaging the private sector have changed in the past decade.
As market-based solutions to development challenges – from supply chain sustainability to impact investing to social enterprise – gain prominence, the U.S. Agency for International Development and Devex announced today, Oct. 26, a partnership to create a new online platform dedicated to this expanding area. The new website, named Devex Impact, aims to serve the professionals and organizations at the crossroads of business and development. It is a media platform attached to Devex.com, currently the largest online community for the international development industry.
“We see innovative partnerships like this one as central to leveraging the power of the private sector to improve lives around the world,” said USAID Administrator Raj Shah, who spoke about Devex Impact at the 20th annual Business for Social Responsibility summit in Manhattan today. “We look forward to building a wide-reaching community of business and development professionals who have the practical information they need to make an impact through public-private partnerships.”
USAID was a pioneer among donor agencies in working with the private sector, and its Global Development Alliance, ten years old this year, was one of the early mechanisms through which companies could work with a donor agency. The partnership with Devex, an independent media company, demonstrates USAID’s commitment to leadership in this area.
For Devex, the new site is a way to harness new private-sector interest in development goals.
“The private sector is moving into development so quickly that few institutions have had a chance to adapt,” said Raj Kumar, president of Devex. “Devex Impact is designed around this idea of convergence, and the platform will shape and inspire the next generation of development work.”
Devex Impact will be the first business news website devoted exclusively to the intersection of business and development. Devex Impact will provide members with breaking news, in-depth analysis and practical information created by its global team of multimedia journalists.
The challenge for Devex, said Kumar, will be providing content that appeals to a diverse audience of business executives, nonprofit implementers and donor officials. Though USAID is providing support for the early stages of Devex Impact, Devex will eventually sustain the site in the same way it supports Devex.com, through a paid membership model.
Devex Impact will also give members access to a growing database of public-private partnership case studies and information. The idea is to allow companies to track where their peers are investing, find partners already working on the ground in their target markets, or discover new opportunities to make an impact.
The Devex Impact portal will also be a new home base for professionals engaged in the work of partnership. Using Devex’s well-developed networking capacity, members will be able to connect with peers across industries.
Existing Devex.com members will be able to access Devex Impact’s content by signing up for the Devex Impact weekly newsletter or by visiting the website. Newcomers to Devex will need to sign up as members – the first level of membership is free – in order to sign up for the newsletter.
As director of global advisory and analysis, Pete manages all Devex research and analysis operations worldwide and monitors key trends in the global development business. Prior to joining Devex, Pete was a political and security risk consultant with a focus on Southeast Asia. He has also advised the U.S. government on foreign policy and led projects for the Asian Development Bank and International Finance Corp.