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Can Technology Save Foreign Aid?

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Start:
March 3, 2011 4:00 pm
End:
March 3, 2011 7:00 pm
Venue:
New America Foundation
Address:
Washington, DC, United States

In collaboration with the New America Foundation, the Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative is co-organizing an event to be held in Washington D.C. on March 3, 2011, to discuss the potential for donor governments to leverage technology to deliver electronic payments directly to the world’s poor.

Event description

The notoriously inefficient development-assistance complex is under siege. Two trillion dollars have flowed from north to south in the last half century, with decidedly mixed results. Current political and budgetary trends threaten the continuation of such flows. At the same time, however, technology offers a means of escape from present bureaucratic bottlenecks, and a means to revolutionize how aid is delivered.

Take mobile technology, point-of-sale devices, and biometric IDs. What if donor governments simply deployed these technologies to cut out the middleman, delivering electronic payments directly to the world’s poor?

In an academic paper and accompanying article on Slate, Jamie Zimmerman of the New America Foundation and Henry Jackelen of the United Nations Development Programme are proposing just that. Future Tense invites you to a discussion of their provocative proposal, and of other ways technology can revolutionize foreign development assistance.

Event agenda

4:00 pm to 4:45 pm – Foreign Aid 3.0: Direct Deposits to the World’s Poor

  • Jamie Zimmerman, Director, Global Assets Project, New America Foundation
  • Henry Jackelen, Director of the Private Sector Division, Partnerships Bureau, United Nations Development Programme
  • Moderator: David Plotz, Editor, Slate

4:45 pm to 5:45 pm – Global Development: Isn’t there an App for that?

  • Charles Kenny, Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow and Global Assets Project Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation
  • Priya Jaisinghani, Senior Adviser, USAID
  • Eric Werker, Associate Professor in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit, Harvard Business School
  • Moderator: David Plotz, Editor, Slate

5:45 pm to 6:00 pm – Final Thoughts

  • Jamie Zimmerman, Director, Global Assets Project, New America Foundation
  • Henry Jackelen, Director of the Private Sector Division, Partnerships Bureau, United Nations Development Programme

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm – Reception