Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Global Development Alliance?

A Global Development Alliance (GDA) is an innovative public-private partnership model for improving social and economic conditions in developing countries. A GDA combines the assets and experience of strategic partners, leveraging their capital and investments, creativity, and access to markets to solve complex problems facing governments, businesses, and communities. This approach to partnership relies heavily on the identification of overlapping and complementary interests between business, USAID, and other organizations with a critical stake in promoting broad-based social and economic development.

Why Partner with the Private Sector?

As the web of economic exchange between the developing and developed world continues to expand, private sector organizations find that their health is increasingly dependent upon the prosperity of the countries they work in. Companies recognize that USAID projects can help them find solutions to business challenges such as how to solve supply chain gaps and improve the quality of their labor force. Consequently, firms play a progressively greater role in conceiving, financing, and implementing solutions to development problems.

While companies may have different reasons for their interest in development projects, when those interests match up with USAID’s interests, there is great potential for collaboration. For example, to expand its market, The Coca-Cola Company needs clean water, because each liter of Coke requires three liters of clean water. Meanwhile, USAID has prioritized water purification projects to reduce poverty and improve the health of individuals in countries around the world. The Coca-Cola Company and USAID have teamed up in the Water and Development Alliance. Today, more than a quarter of a million people now have access to clean water because of USAID's partnership with Coca-Cola.

A company's corporate spirit of altruism and community service is also an important driver of engagement with USAID. Companies interested in development projects as a part of their social responsibility initiatives benefit from USAID's extensive overseas presence, experience in development, resources, and access to its in-country networks.

Why does USAID Partner?

With 80 percent of U.S. resource flows to the developing world originating from the private sector, USAID recognizes that it may not be the "majority stakeholder" in the alliances it forges. To keep up with the new realities of development assistance, in which the private sector plays an increasingly important role (see Why Partner), USAID welcomes non-traditional partners as equals in development projects because it just makes sense.

Each partner contributes its own unique set of skills and resources to collaborate on jointly defined development challenges, achieving a solution that neither actor could solve alone. As a result, alliances between USAID and the private sector have the potential for greater, more sustainable impact. At the same time, alliances provide a mechanism where partners pool risk and resources for mutual benefit and reward.

What are the Guiding Principles of an Alliance?

Alliances between USAID and the private sector are based on seven key principles:

Trust:  Trust is an essential foundation enabling partners to work together despite individual alliance organizations' differing interest, motivations, cultures, values, and infrastructures. Trust is also fundamental to building a fruitful relationship with communities an alliance is trying to work with or in.

Equity:  Equity implies that each partner is equally welcome and important to an alliance. Global Development Alliances are created on the precept that each partner is of equal value to an alliance.

Competencies:  It is necessary to identify, build, and maximize the roles and responsibilities of each partner according to the alliance's goals and mission. There must be an appropriate competency mix in the partner organizations and individuals to achieve the partnership's goals and interests.

Inclusivity:  Inclusivity concerns the ability for an alliance to process the views and needs of its stakeholders -- those groups who affect and/or are affected by the alliance and its activities -- and to reflect on these expectations at all evolutionary stages of the alliance.

Partnership Alignment:  Each partner should come together to jointly define an alliance's objectives according to overlapping interests and agendas.

Mutual Benefit:  Healthy alliances will work toward achieving specific benefits for each partner over and above the common benefits to all partners. If each partner in an alliance is expected to contribute to the alliance, they should also be entitled to benefit from it.

Transparency:  Openness and honesty in working relationships are a pre-condition of trust. In order to build trust, there must be full, accurate, and timely disclosure of information and communication on a regular basis.

Who are Potential Alliance Partners?

Companies:  Individual U.S. and multinational corporations, including banks and other financial institutions, host country private businesses, business and trade associations, venture capitalists and philanthropic individuals and pension funds and employee welfare plans.

Governments:  Cities, states, civic groups, donor governments, host country governments, and other U.S. government agencies.

Non-Profits:  Foundations, national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), regional and international organizations, U.S. colleges and universities, Diaspora organizations, public figures, and advocacy groups.

Last updated: February 28, 2013

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