FID's event in Rabat: "Encouraging innovation to transform public policy"
On July 5, as part of the "Development Methodologies" summer school in Rabat, the Fund for Innovation in Development (FID) team organized an event to present its missions, ambitions and methodology. Three FID-funded project leaders presented their projects and prospects.
For Esther Duflo, Chairperson of FID’s Board of Directors, international cooperation has a unique role to play. Since her involvement in the Presidential Council for Global Development, a consultative body created by Obama in 2012 (Obama Commission) bringing together development experts, the economist has been constantly asking herself how the international cooperation budget could be spent better. Three pillars have emerged from her thinking:
- setting up an insurance mechanism in the event of a global crisis
- encouraging the creation and dissemination of global public goods
- the ability to support diverse structures for innovation
With regard to the third point, experts of the Obama Commission emphasized the importance of supporting a fund based on the operation of venture capital, i.e. a fund that enables "risk-taking and investment at different scales". DIV USAID's fund was created based on this model in 2010, and has now been operating "long enough to calculate its performance at portfolio level for the first few projects".
At the end of 2020, French Secretary of State Hervé Berville, then a Member of Parliament, proposed in a report on the modernization of international solidarity policy to transpose this approach in France and French-speaking countries. Thus, FID was born in April 2021 and has financed to date almost 50 projects, 80% of which are located on the African continent.
Three projects to illustrate FID's portfolio
Following an introduction by Juliette Seban, FID’s Executive Director, and a speech by Esther Duflo, three representatives of funded projects presented their innovations and growth prospects, with regard to the two stages of FID funding they have benefited from: the pilot stage - enabling teams to pilot solutions already prototyped under real-life conditions - and the Public Policy Transformation stage - aimed at institutionalizing specific innovations or strengthening governments' capacity to design, test and deploy rigorously evaluated innovations.
- TAARAL project implemented in Dakar, Senegal, focuses on collecting plastic waste using existing facilities (pilot stage)
Diadji Niang, Project Manager at The Alliance for Advancing Recycling, Awareness and Livelihoods in Plastics (TAARAL), Haskè Conseil: "Senegal produces 200,000 tons of plastic waste per year. Out of this 200,000 tons, only 4% is recycled".
Diadji Niang believes that this project's long-term aim is to expand this initiative to other areas in order to raise environmental awareness. "We would like to act on the transformation aspect of this project, namely: the recycling and transformation of waste"
- The African Management Institute project is based on practical and digital courses developed for small and medium-sized enterprises, tested in Kenya and now deployed in Senegal to test its replicability potential in a francophone market (pilot stage)
Christiane Ansa, Program Manager for French-Speaking African Countries at the African Management Institute (AMI): «We really want to have an impact so we are interested in impact evaluations to ensure that what we do works»
The goal for Christiane Ansa is to “support SMEs to operate […], identify all barriers and then replicate this model in other countries”
- The project implemented within Togo's National Identification Agency with the creation of a laboratory to organize socio-economic and biometric data, enabling the optimization of public policies (Public Policy Transformation stage)
Silété Devo, Managing Director of the National Identification Agency (ANID), points out that "in Togo, 45.5% of the population lives in poverty". According to him, "the idea is to be able to use multi-channel data to enable policies to make life easier for vulnerable populations".
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