Today, USAID announced the full set of projects for the Enterprises for Development, Growth, and Empowerment (EDGE) Fund. These projects are high-impact collaborations that unleash outsized private sector impacts on today’s most significant global development challenges.
The initiatives, totaling nearly $50 million in USAID-provided funding across Africa, Asia, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East, will leverage the private sector’s expertise to confront these global challenges, including generating inclusive economic growth and combating climate change, food insecurity, democratic backsliding, and corruption.
The EDGE Fund will leverage more than $110 million from the private sector, with the potential to unlock upwards of $600 million in investments over five years for sustainable, market-based solutions to pressing global challenges. The Fund aligns with local and multinational businesses to drive progress towards shared goals and objectives and deliver economic growth, jobs, and market solutions that contribute to the sustainable development goals.
Administrator Power first announced the EDGE Fund at the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland as the first-of-its-kind public-private partnership fund to drive collaborative solutions and leverage core business interests and operations that spur more inclusivity, resilience, and shared prosperity. The EDGE Fund is part of USAID’s Private Sector Engagement Modernize reform initiative to enhance how the Agency collaborates with the private sector.
The EDGE Fund activities that will receive resources are listed below:
USAID will provide $23.6 million to support innovative approaches with the private sector through the following activities:
- Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF). USAID will broaden alliance activities in Ecuador, Malawi, and the Dominican Republic, bolstering engagement with local partner networks, scaling up trade solutions, and promoting democratic gains.
- Angola Mobile Money is Better. USAID will collaborate with Africell to roll out a new digital finance platform in Angola, facilitating a more open and competitive mobile market with greater access to secure digital payments and financial services in Angola.
- India Advancing Critical Emerging Technologies (ACET). USAID will work with a major American supplier of telecommunications hardware and local Indian telecommunications companies to test and implement Open Radio Access Network (ORAN), a competitive service offering within the 5G mobile network to reduce the digital divide while increasing access to trusted technologies and bringing energy efficiency to the telecom sector.
- Ecuador Strengthening Productive Value Chains with Established Markets. USAID will collaborate with retail food stores and other local partners to promote the sustainability and local development of small agricultural producers in Ecuador through strengthening productive value chains and connection to formal markets. The activity will raise sustainable agricultural incomes, prioritizing women.
- Pioneering Private Sector Mini-Grid in Papua New Guinea. USAID will partner with WEnergy Global to test mini-grid business models that reduce costs for electricity consumers and catalyze the off-grid renewable energy mini-grid market in Papua New Guinea.
- Doing Business With Integrity. USAID will collaborate with the private sector and consortia that include private-sector entities to develop, apply, and scale innovations under USAID’s Countering Transnational Corruption Grand Challenge for Development. Solutions will reflect innovative thinking; advance the range, depth, and impact of private-sector actions to reduce transnational corruption; and demonstrate that anti-corruption efforts can be good for business.
- Ukraine Digital Government Partnership. USAID and Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation will collaborate with the technology industry to model and adapt Ukraine’s e-government application “Diia” and broader digital government transformation experiences in Colombia, Kosovo, Zambia, and other partner countries. The partners will engage key private sector partners to reduce corruption, create local and sustainable solutions, and generate democratic dividends through improved e-services.
Approximately half of the EDGE Fund portfolio - nearly $24 million - will be used to further the private sector’s contributions to advancing climate change solutions and strengthening resilience, these initiatives include:
- Carbon Financing for Smallholder Farmers - Acorn Cooperative Carbon Finance Fund. USAID will work to de-risk private investments into Acorn Rabobank’s carbon finance fund, creating an inclusive voluntary carbon market that helps smallholder farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa transition to climate-smart and resilient agriculture.
- Mobilizing Green Investments for Africa through the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility. USAID will work with the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility (LSF) and other financial sector partners to increase liquidity of African Sovereign Eurobonds and further catalyze SDG-related investments in green infrastructure and energy transition on the African continent.
Additional initiatives will be announced at COP28 including, investments in climate resilience in the Caribbean, global ocean plastic pollution reduction efforts, commercializing renewable-powered irrigation efforts in the Middle East and North Africa region, and blended finance mechanisms for both climate mitigation and adaptation.