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Read Now: USAID’s First Ever Digital Development Strategy

By Wayan Vota on April 16, 2020

usaid digital development strategy

Now more than ever, as the global development community works to deliver life-saving assistance and relay crucial information via COVID-19 Digital Response, the role of digital technology is undeniable.

  • Teachers deliver lessons remotely to homebound classes;
  • Health care workers diagnose patients via telemedicine to minimize their risk of exposure;
  • People worldwide seek out online information about the pandemic’s impact on their
    lives and livelihoods.

Across all of these activities, digital technology is what allows us to remain connected even while physical distancing requires us to be apart. It is more important than ever for USAID to help communities be resilient in the face of threats like this global pandemic, by ensuring all countries have robust digital ecosystems that are open, inclusive, secure, and of benefit to all.

In light of this, the USAID Digital Strategy (2020-2024) will position the Agency to advance its mission – to end the need for foreign assistance – through digitally supported programming that fosters the Journey to Self-Reliance in its partner countries and maximizes the benefits, while managing the risks that digital technology introduces into the lives of the communities it serves.

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Building on decades of USAID leadership in digital development, the strategy outlines USAID’s deliberate and holistic commitment to improve development and humanitarian assistance outcomes through the use of digital technology and strengthen open, inclusive, and secure digital ecosystems.

In doing so, the strategy charts how USAID will change the way it does business – including embracing digital technologies by default in certain instances – in a manner that reflects best practice and is evidence-based. Digital ecosystems, consisting of stakeholders, systems, and enabling environment, empower people and communities to use digital technology to access services, engage with others, and pursue economic opportunities in partner countries.

The goal of the USAID Digital Strategy is to achieve and sustain open, secure, and inclusive digital ecosystems that contribute to broad-based, measurable development and humanitarian-assistance outcomes and increase self-reliance in emerging market countries.

The Digital Strategy centers around two core, mutually reinforcing objectives:

  • Improve measurable development and humanitarian assistance outcomes through the
    responsible use of digital technology in USAID’s programming; and
  • Strengthen the openness, inclusiveness, and security of country-level digital ecosystems.

These objectives, and USAID’s approach to achieving them, support the goals and principles outlined in key US government policy documents, including the USAID Policy Framework, the Department of State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan, and the U.S. National Cyber, National Security, and Counterterrorism Strategies.

USAID will work to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of foreign assistance through the consistent and responsible use of digital technology in our development and humanitarian programming.

Through its programmatic investments, USAID will work to strengthen the critical components of digital ecosystems that enable sustainable growth in a digital age:

  • A sound enabling environment and policy commitment;
  • Robust and resilient digital infrastructure;
  • Capable digital service providers and workforce;
  • Empowered end-users of digitally enabled services.

Learn More: USAID Digital Strategy at GDDF

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Please RSVP Now to join over 1,500 of your peers at the Global Digital Development Forum, a virtual ICT4D conference broadcasting worldwide on May 6th.

USAID staff will present the Digital Strategy during the conference and be available to answer your questions on how USAID intends to:

  • Work to ​strengthen digital ecosystems​;
  • Default to the use of digital technology​ in humanitarian and development assistance programming;
  • Invest in its significant human capital to continue to ​build the USAID of tomorrow​.

Please RSVP Now to be the first to know how USAID can extend this strategy to all operating units over the five-year span of the Strategy.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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2 Comments to “Read Now: USAID’s First Ever Digital Development Strategy”

  1. Uchechi Chuta says:

    This proposed USAID digital development strategy is to say the least the most important aspect of the responses by the global community on the covid19outbreak.

    The pandemic clearly shows how unprepared most Africa and other countries in the world are to face the difficulties posed by this crisis. Imagine the billions of USD& being spent on prevention and cure for the virus. I foresee great tragedy in Africa cause most of us here are still battling infrastructure deficit in line with the inevitable transition to the digital economy. If all these funds could be set aside, what happens now that most people are now working from home. African leaders are very greedy and selfish in that in this time of the 4th Industrii Revolution, no one is even talking about the place of Internet in the recovery process.

    I therefore must commend the USAID for this timely intervention. The level of poverty in Africa requires urgent attention and the government in Africa must do more instead of looting resources and hoping that they will always get Loans from development partners.

    You are right to position on the default use of digital technologies for both humanitarian and development assistance programming is the way to go. Let your AIDS from Africa henceforth be through signing of disruptive digital technology solutions to help fast rack the adaptation to the new order- Dogital Economy.

    I am therefore looking forward to this virtual event, as it could be the game changer that will reverse the backward trend of infrastructure deficit in Afriica.

    We are ready to join the efforts to the use of digital technology for both socioeconomic development and transformation. We have the solutions to bridge the digital divide; let’s begin to implement them.

    Thank you
    NetPoints limited

  2. Mesfin Felleke says:

    In a contenent where a good 80% struggle for their daily bread, you are going to help them feed themseleves digitally.! That’s is commical!! USAID can do Africa a big favor and allow Africa to grow at it’s own pace. The major obstacle, among other factors, for real and lasting foundational growth in the African continent is the untimely and imposed introduction of technology that is not comensurate with the social, economical, educational, and developmental experience of the great majority of the African population. For a continent that’s still stuck in a economic system of cattle farming and exporting of natural raw material to the West and has yet to go through a proper industrializtion process, what is a digital system of anything would do in alleviating the real plight of Africans?
    This makes no policy or practical sense, if we are talking about riching the targeted population and imploying the right solution , then digital anything is misguided and ill conceived.