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USAID and Clinton Launch Global Development Lab

On April 3, the U.S. Agency for International Development and Hillary Clinton announced the launch of the U.S. Global Development Lab, with the goal to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator, said at the launch that, “To solve our most intractable development challenges, USAID has established a new way of working, bringing on board the best and brightest staff and new partners, all working in concert to help end extreme poverty.”

In the new program, USAID is partnering with 31 universities, corporations, and foundations in the hope to use science and technology to help find methods of alleviating poverty. These partners are being called the Cornerstone Partners, as they come from a number of different fields.

The Cornerstone Partners include corporations like Cargill, Cisco, Coca-Cola, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nike, Syngenta and Walmart as well as foundations and organizations like CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Plan, Save the Children, World Vision, the Global Impact Investing Network, the Skoll Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian Foundation, and the Gates Foundation.

In addition, many universities have decided to be part of the Global Development Lab, including the University of California at Berkeley, Duke University, Johns Hopkins Univesrity, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute, Texas A&M University, and the College of William and Mary. Sweden has also decided to donate to the creation of the lab.

Together all of these groups have contributed over $30 billion in investments and have also provided technology, experts on the subject, and the capabilities to conduct necessary research and development.

Shah went on to explain the lab by saying that, “The Lab will engage a global community of inventors, academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate leaders in science and technology to invent, test, and scale the most promising and cost effective solutions to end extreme poverty.”

Shah believes that Americans can lead the effort to eliminate poverty, but admits that it will take time. He hopes that by forming these partnerships and creating the Global Development Lab, USAID will be able to help construct the best solutions to worldwide problems.

Prior to being the USAID administrator, Shah served as the undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has worked with Clinton before. One example of their work together was when Shah was applying scientific techniques to improve agriculture in conjunction with Clinton’s work on a global food initiative. Shah hoped to combine these efforts, and his operations in USAID work towards that goal.

The Global Development Lab will work on developing cost-effective products that incorporate the newest discoveries in science, but will also work on solving other problems, such as hunger, disease, and literacy. By bringing together the greatest minds from several different fields, the Global Development Lab will have all the necessary resources to reach its goals.

In light of the announcement, Lana Stoll of USAID said, “By tapping into things that really make America what it is, which is our entrepreneurial spirit, our scientific expertise, and our real commitment to help people, you have a real ability to accelerate our impact.”

– Julie Guacci

Sources: TIMEThe Skoll Foundation
Photo: Still4Hill