USAID to launch new fund to tap into private sector’s competitive edge to solve global challenges
At the World Economic Forum, Administrator Samantha Power announced that USAID will launch the Enterprises for Development, Growth, and Empowerment (EDGE) Fund, an innovative new fund designed to unlock and unleash outsized private sector impacts on global development challenges.
USAID will work with Congress to provide $50 million for the fund, the first-of-its kind private sector partnership fund dedicated to launching partnerships that leverage business capabilities and influence commercial operations to advance development objectives.
The significant scale of today’s global challenges – recovering from the economic and human cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented humanitarian disasters in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere, a global food security crisis that has been exacerbated by Putin’s war against Ukraine that has taken an enormous share of the world’s agriculture exports offline, and dangerous threats to democratic progress – cannot be solved by traditional development resources alone. This new fund will be dedicated to accelerating development and humanitarian progress through partnerships with the private sector.
While USAID has decades of experience partnering with businesses and industries to implement market-led development and humanitarian solutions to global challenges, the new fund will make it easier for USAID and partners to drive real progress and shared prosperity beyond one-off programs. The $50 million fund will help USAID and partners generate sustainable, high-impact public-private partnerships to tackle the climate crisis, deliver gender equality, drive economic growth, and address other key priorities.
This EDGE Fund will allow USAID to prioritize partnerships that center around the private sector’s core capabilities, supply chains, and operations to collaboratively deliver development, humanitarian, and commercial gains. Prospective partners can find more information on the application process on the EDGE Fund page.
The following list of planned activities are among the first projects slated to receive resources through the EDGE Fund:
Green Guarantee Company: Along with the UK Government, the Green Climate Fund, and Prosper Africa, we plan to provide seed funding for the world’s first credit guarantor dedicated to climate solutions in the developing world, systematically de-risk and effectively unlock scale-level private investments in climate solutions through the power of global capital markets. Starting with some of the largest emerging economies such as Brazil and India to economies such as Rwanda and Tanzania, and small island developing states such as Trinidad and Tobago, we are helping to issue green bonds and loans in emerging and frontier markets, and equipping borrowers to acquire climate resilient infrastructure.
Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation: We anticipate providing additional resources to facilitate trade in burgeoning democracies like Zambia, Malawi, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic to address multiple challenges around corruption, economic growth, and market expansion.
Barbados Blue-Green Bank: With USAID funding and seed funding available from the EDGE Fund, along with co-funding from the Government of Barbados and the Green Climate Fund, we plan to establish a regional financing vehicle to finance projects that will help with climate change mitigation and adaptation, including resilient housing, renewable energy, green transportation, and water conservation.
Madre de Dios Sustainable Landscapes Initiative: In Peru, we will be supporting ecotourism and shoring up our commitment to locally relevant and sustainable economic growth avenues. With partners Inkaterra Peru and the Smithsonian Center for Conservation and Sustainability, along with Peruvian businesses, we are raising private capital to develop a 200,000 acre sustainable biodiversity corridor in an area facing some of the highest levels of deforestation and illegal gold mining in the Amazon.
Countering Transnational Corruption Grand Challenge: We plan to double the size of USAID’s initial investment in the Countering Transnational Corruption Grand Challenge to help co-invest in game-changing tools, technology, and approaches that prevent corrupt actors from siphoning off critical resources that should be used for the public good.
The EDGE Fund is one initiative within an Agency-wide reform effort to more effectively pursue enterprise-driven development approaches. The PSE Modernize reform effort works across and within Agency systems and stakeholders to lower barriers for staff and partners to create impact through collaboration. With these reforms, USAID will create a streamlined and productive experience for its partners, reducing hurdles and increasing USAID’s impact through the private sector.