Speeches Shim

Digital technology has the power to spur economic growth, improve development outcomes, and lift millions out of poverty.

Digital technology is transforming the ways in which we interact with businesses, governments, and each other. While much of the world has access to a basic mobile phone, the full potential for digital technology is not yet realized. Approximately four billion people in developing countries do not have access to the internet, including a staggering 82 percent of households in the least developed countries. And women are, on average, 14 percent less likely to own mobile phones than their male counterparts. This ongoing digital divide decreases stability, reduces resiliency, and prohibits countries from achieving their full potential.

ITR works to address gaps in digital access and adoption and advance the use of technology and geospatial analysis in development and humanitarian assistance, while also managing the risks that digital technology introduces into the lives of the communities we serve. 

Building on decades of USAID leadership in digital development, USAID’s first ever Digital Strategy outlines USAID’s deliberate and holistic commitment to achieving and sustaining open, secure, and inclusive digital ecosystems that contribute to broad-based, measurable development and humanitarian-assistance outcomes. It sets a path to equip staff, shape effective programming, and empower people and communities to use digital technology to live freer, healthier, more prosperous lives.

Learn more about our Teams and Work

Highlighted Initiatives

As a co-founder of the Better Than Cash Alliance, USAID’s Digital Finance team has digitized payments in over 30 countries, increasing transparency and reducing wasteful spending while expanding financial inclusion.

Working with USAID, the Digital Inclusion team launched the WomenConnect Challenge with the goal of finding innovative solutions to close the digital gender divide by changing the way women and girls access and use technology.

Through YouthMappers, now a network of over 5,000 university students in 51 countries, the GeoCenter creates new geospatial data in support of USAID programs and empowers youth to address development challenges in their communities.

Following the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2015, USAID’s Development Informatics practice founded and funded the West African Health Informatics Team, a group of local technical experts that develops the capacity of regional health informatics experts and strengthens health information systems. The WAHIT team built the ECOWAS COVID-19 dashboard for use by WAHO and the region, and continues to be a model for hiring and retaining local technical expertise within a regional institution.


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Last updated: July 22, 2022

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