Economic Development

  • Money, mentors, and markets: What youth entrepreneurs need to succeed

    This post was originally published on the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. It is reprinted with permission.

    Youth unemployment — particularly in the developing world — is one of the most pressing and challenging issues facing the global community. Rates of youth unemployment are the highest across the Middle East and North Africa region, around 30 percent, and close to 17 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the micro and macro consequences loom: stunted economic growth, poverty, migration, crime and poor health, among many others.

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  • A young entrepreneur uses technology for social innovation

    Nestor Bonilla is an entrepreneur from Managua, Nicaragua, who works with local and international organizations to apply technology in new ways to solve social problems. He also founded two social start-ups: Honey Things and Digital Bonds. In 2017, Bonilla was a fellow with the Workforce Connections project, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by FHI 360. Recently, Bonilla visited Washington, DC, and shared his perspectives on entrepreneurship and youth.

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  • A dispatch from Women Deliver: How the private sector is ensuring women are included in more inclusive growth

    This post was originally published on the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. Reprinted with permission.

    Over the course of four days in June, more than 8,000 world leaders, influencers, practitioners, advocates, academics, activists and journalists gathered in Vancouver, Canada, to discuss how to accelerate progress for girls and women around the globe. The Women Deliver conference included important conversations about the future of work and women’s economic participation. Importantly, the debate demonstrated how the dialogue on the role of the private sector is shifting: from corporate responsibility to corporate interest and from social impact to bottom line impact — and increasingly both.

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  • Growth, focus and evolution: How INGOs are changing the impact investing landscape

    Since the term “impact investing” took hold more than a decade ago, we’ve known that making investments that create positive social or environmental impact and generate a financial return would require engagement from both the social and private sectors. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that the extent of the work of international nonprofits in impact investing was revealed, when members of the International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) Impact Investing Network released their inaugural piece of thought leadership: Amplifyii:The INGO Value Proposition for Impact Investing. That report, featured in the NextBillion post Philanthropy is Changing Fast: 12 Lessons from Three Reports, was the first real landscape report charting the work of INGOs in impact investing. Two years later, the network came back together to release the next chapter of the story of INGOs in impact investing: Amplifyii: The Next Mile of Impact Investing for INGOs.

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  • Better data, better design – how FHI 360 uses evidence to catalyze economic growth

    For more than a decade, FHI 360’s experts have worked to address critical human development issues in Jordan. Our programs encourage long-term economic growth to increase revenue and create jobs, particularly for underserved communities. Bryanna Millis, the Technical Director for the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support (USAID LENS) project, explains FHI 360’s strategies to use evidence-based approaches not only to promote but also to sustain economic growth.

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  • Positive youth development as a pathway to economic empowerment

    The global economic landscape, along with the nature of work, is rapidly changing. More and more people are working outside of a typical office environment and in the gig economy. This is creating new economic opportunities — and challenges. The abilities and aspirations of young people, who now number almost two billion, are often unrealized, especially in the developing world. What is the best way to secure their futures?

    We believe that positive youth development interventions can support and empower youth to be more engaged, healthy and productive members of their communities. Meeting young people where they are — whether in person or online — is necessary to build the critical skills and competencies to meet the demands of a growing and evolving economy. Our research shows that positive youth development interventions can facilitate resilience and, when combined with labor market analysis, prepare young people for future employment.

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  • Partnering with a new generation of innovators for social good

    We know we have to do things differently to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We need new ways of seeing old problems, new skills and methods to direct the technological whirlwind disrupting societies and new ways to muster political will to make hard decisions that challenge old orthodoxies.

    There is a paradox here: At a time when innovation is creating destabilizing change, the key to future stability lies in our ability to effectively harness innovation. But what does that look like?

    Most innovations are spread through traditional commercial channels where one company either develops or purchases the intellectual property or product of another. Commercializing and scaling new products, particularly in the tech sector, has been the driving force in 21st century economic growth. It has improved living standards in many parts of the world, but simultaneously produced growing — and potentially destabilizing — inequality.

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  • Revolutionizing payday: Mobile money’s transformative impact on Liberia’s public workers

    Imagine the following scenario: It’s payday and you want to pick up your salary. But first, you have to navigate a series of deteriorating, hazardous dirt roads to get to the bank. It takes you a few days just to talk to a teller. When you finally do, the teller informs you that the bank is currently out of cash – you’ll have to wait some more. By the time you actually get paid, you’ve had to miss several days of work – and to top it all off, between bank fees (including bribes or unofficial fees to bankers and security guards), the cost of lodging, travel and food, you’ve spent 15 percent of your salary just to pick it up.

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  • Preparing the future workforce requires transformations in what we know, how we learn and how we work

    Artificial intelligence, smart systems, decentralized manufacturing and other technologies are driving major uncertainties around the future of work. Experts from MIT and the World Economic Forum suggest that we are in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution, characterized by new technologies that will affect all industries. As the very nature of work changes rapidly, old jobs are disappearing and new jobs are emerging in every sector of the economy. This has produced a major shift in the demand for skills that is happening worldwide, and we can expect further shifts going forward.

    Reducing the lag time between the development of new jobs and the preparation of the workforce to meet new skills needs is a core concern for workers, new graduates, employers and governments. And while the pace of transformation in jobs and skills differ by country and region, evolution along the technological spectrum is taking place everywhere.

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  • Four major famines have taken place so far in 2017, which has renewed attention on the urgent need to address food security globally. However, food security involves much more than responding to famines, and it is closely linked to factors such as governance, which plays a significant role in fragile states and developing countries. FHI 360 held a Facebook Live discussion on how integrating governance, agriculture and food security can benefit food security programs. The conversation was moderated by Gregory Adams, Director of the Locus Coalition at FHI 360, with FHI 360 experts Joseph Sany, Technical Advisor, Peacebuilding and Conflict Mitigation, and Annette Brown, Director, Research and Evaluation Strategic Initiative.

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