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What is in USAID’s First Ever Digital Development Strategy?

By Wayan Vota on October 24, 2019

usaid digital strategy

Building on decades of USAID leadership in digital development, soon USAID will launch its first Digital Strategy (2019-2024), an Agency-wide vision for development and humanitarian assistance in the world’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.

You can now review and comment on the Draft Digital Strategy that charts an Agency-wide vision for development and humanitarian assistance in the world’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Subscribe Now to learn more about USAID’s digital development initiatives

The Digital Strategy will position the Agency to advance its mission – to end the need for foreign assistance – through digitally supported programming that fosters partner countries’ self-reliance and maximizes the benefits, while managing the risks, that digital technology introduces into the lives of our constituents.

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

  • Improve USAID development and humanitarian assistance outcomes through the responsible use of digital technology.
  • Strengthen openness, inclusiveness, and security of country digital ecosystems.

USAID will work to ​improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its programming through consistent, responsible use of digital technology​. And 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.

The Digital Strategy seeks to advance the growth of self-reliant countries through efficient, effective, and responsible digital initiatives that enhance national security and economic prosperity, consistent with American values of respect for individual rights, open and competitive markets, freedom of expression, and the promotion of democratic norms and practices.

The Digital Strategy also paves a path for USAID to partner with the private sector on long-term sustainability and investment in an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, along with underlying policies that protect consumers and promote the free flow of information, products and services.

Give Your Feedback on USAID’s Digital Strategy

USAID seeks your feedback on its first Draft Digital Strategy to ensure that it will support developing countries to become self-reliant and capable of leading their own digital development journeys.

Please submit your comments now.

Comments will be accepted through Sunday, November 3, 2019 until 6pm EST. Where possible please indicate the page number or page range that your comment pertains to and include your contact email and organization. Comments will not be made public but they will be reviewed internally by the Digital Strategy drafting team. A representative of USAID may follow up with you as needed.

USAID Digital Strategy Next Steps

The future launch of the final Digital Strategy will be followed by the release of a detailed Implementation Plan, as well as a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan that will enable evaluation of the Strategy’s impact over the next five years.

To achieve the objectives of the Digital Strategy, USAID will take a three-pronged approach. USAID will:

  • 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​.

Strategy implementation will start with a subset of target countries and extend to all USAID 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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