The Future Can't Wait
UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT WASHINGTON DC
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On November 4, 2011, the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID hosted the first-ever Symposium on the Future of Development Challenges in Washington, D.C. Along with our partners at the Department of State, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the National Defense University, we brought together development theorists and practitioners, economists and demographers, scientists and futurists to explore and discuss emerging development trends that will shape our collective policies and programs long into the future. It was an inspiring day. The symposium s goal was to use futures analysis to help USAID and other development organizations turn our vision from our current portfolio of projects and programs, and extend our gaze out over decades to come. In so doing, we were seeking to catch up with our counterparts in the private sector, the intelligence community, and the military, who have been engaging in futures analysis for years. A brief view of development trends over the past two decades suggests how important this exercise can be. Today, the technology available to every person on the planet in a personal digital assistant is more advanced than super-computers in 1990. Breakthroughs in science and innovation applicable to global health, food security, and climate change adaptation and remediation occur daily. The flow of capital to developing countries about 1 trillion each year now dwarfs development assistance, making public-private partnerships ever more important. Child mortality rates are plummeting throughout the developing world at rates even the most optimistic experts could not have anticipated, producing a so-called demographic dividend. The wave of democratic governance has accelerated when the BerlinWall fell, only two of our development partners in Africa were democracies today, more than 20 enjoy that status.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Government and Political Science