2005 Finalist
United States Agency for International Development
Innovations in American Government Awards
Innovations in American Government Awards
Throughout the 1990s, Angola played host to a bloody civil war that drew many farmers away from their lands and into the army. After the war ended, soldiers from both sides continued to wander the country, threatening to destabilize the developing government. Meanwhile, many Angolans were desperately poor, working long hours to pay off high interest from private loans to buy simple household materials. The Angolan government did not have the resources to deal with either problem, but the combined resources of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Chevron-Texaco Oil helped Angola overcome these barriers to prosperity.
Before the creation of USAID's Global Development Alliance (GDA) in 2001, such collaboration between private and public aid could never have occurred. USAID would have been confined to administering the program by itself, and bearing all the expenses, or contracting with a nonprofit that, by law, would have to be kept at arm's length.
The GDA created an entirely new model for providing aid to developing countries, allowing the United States government to partner with nonprofits, corporations, universities, and other private actors to deliver aid more effectively. Instead of serving as a detached project manager or sole provider of aid, USAID lends expertise about the needs of particular countries and development practices likely to work there. Private partners furnish everything from funding to local contacts that amplify USAID's efforts and steer it toward innovative, effective programs.
In 2001, former Secretary of State Colin Powell described the alliance concept in front of Congress: "Sustained improvement, sustained involvement with these kinds of organizations, leveraging up US dollars with the dollars they bring and the energy they bring... will pay off in the future as a force multiplier that will help us with our development goals and objectives." The program should continue to foster new, innovative partnerships between the public and private sector that benefit some of the poorest people in the world.
Since the program's founding, the GDA has helped the U.S. overcome countless problems through foreign aid that USAID had been unable to solve alone; China, Japan, and Germany have all expressed interest in replicating the program after seeing its tangible results. By 2004, the GDA had helped forge 288 aid alliances between public and private groups, in which the U.S. government contributed $966 million to aid efforts under the GDA umbrella, and its private partners invested a total of $2.98 billion. The program allowed the U.S. to remove a number of barriers to global malaria prevention and partner with large coffee buyers to provide markets for small Columbian coffee producers, many of whom typically lost their livelihoods after comparatively minor shifts in the market.