The Global Development Alliance

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The Global Development Alliance (GDA) is a program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It was created in May 2001 as a new way to effectively provide aid to developing countries through public-private partnerships; the GDA model combines the resources of corporations, foundations, the faith-based community, indigenous organizations, and other nontraditional partners, with the technical expertise and experience of the U.S. Government, it aligns public resources with private capital, expertise and networks to deepen development impact. These public-private alliances are a response to an ever-growing private sector that has the potential to have a large impact in the developing world. GDAs mobilize the combined resources of participating partners to stimulate economic growth, develop businesses and workforces, address health and environmental issues, and expand access to education and technology. Alliances are co-designed, co-managed and co-funded so that the risks, responsibilities, and rewards are equally shared amongst the partners.


The Global Development Alliance was created in 2001, after career Foreign Service Officers identified the potential of - and need for - public-private alliances in international development. In his remarks before Congress on May 15, 2001, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell introduced the GDA as "a fundamental reorientation in how USAID sees itself in the context of international development assistance, in how it relates to its traditional partners and in how it seeks out and develops alliances with new partners."[1] From there, the GDA assistance model has helped in the creation of partnerships between the U.S. Government and the private sector. USAID is working with corporations both globally and locally to increase the effectiveness of assistance by leveraging more than $9 billion for development in public and private resources. Since 2001, over 3,000 distinct partners have been engaged in building over 1,000 public-private alliances. Within the Agency, the Office of Development Partners/Private Sector Alliances Division (ODP/PSA) is the steward of the GDA program. ODP/PSA has four mandates as follows:

  1. Directs the U.S. Agency for International Development towards more strategic alliance building.
  2. Serves as the leading partnership body in the U.S. Government and a convening power for other Agencies engaged with private partners in the federal government.
  3. Liaises as a key point of contact for businesses, foundations, or non-profits who hope to become engaged in alliances with the Agency.
  4. Advances practitioner knowledge and understanding of best practices in alliance building, effective approaches, and opportunity-seeking for ways in which alliances can solve today and tomorrow's development challenges.

Current Alliances[edit]

The Global Development Alliance model has grown quickly since its creation, and USAID is now involved in hundreds of partnerships supporting economic growth, health, education, democracy and governance, environment, and conflict resolution all around the globe. USAID works with everyone from large multinational corporations to small indigenous organizations to improve the lives of people in developing countries.

In December 2006, ODP/PSA published a report, Public-Private Alliances on Transformational Development; the report is an introduction to the GDA model for businesses and nonprofits interested in partnering with USAID. It also presents an overview of some of the public-private partnerships formed using the GDA model.

Tools and publications[edit]

The Private Sector Alliances Division provides tools to help alliance builders build successful and sustainable partnerships; the GDA database, a comprehensive gathering of USAID alliances, is one such tool that is available to the public. In addition to various online toolkits, ODP/PSA provides publications that offer guidance during the alliance building process; the following is a list of important tools and publications provided by PSA:


In 2005 the Global Development Alliance was awarded the first Lewis and Clark Award for Innovation in Collaborative Governance; the Weil Program on Collaborative Governance and the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government established this award to recognize and reward efforts in collaborative governance. USAID also awards the GDA Excellence Award to private sector organizations or Agency Missions that have exhibited exemplary partnership models.

  • The award was first presented to ChevronTexaco, Catholic Relief Services, Africare, Save the Children, World Vision, and Care International in 2004, for their innovative and dedicated support to the GDA business model. This alliance brought together the above-mentioned partners, with USAID, to accelerate resettlement and development in rural Angola; this alliance has also provided a model for extractive industries worldwide to engage in international development.
  • In 2005, the Balkan Trust for Democracy Alliance received the GDA Excellence Award in recognition of its alliance building, strong corporate citizenship, and innovative non-profit work to bring the benefits of democracy to the Balkan region. Partners included USAID, the German Marshall Fund, the Charles Steward Mott Foundation, the Governments of the Netherlands, Greece, and Sweden, and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.
  • The 2006 award went to the International Youth Foundation (IYF) for its Entra 21 initiative, a workforce development program in 18 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean In five years, the program provided information technology (IT) training to more than 19,000 disadvantaged youth ages 16-29.
  • In 2007, USAID honored The Coca-Cola Company with the 2007 Alliance of the Year award for its innovative public-private partnership called the Water and Development Alliance (WADA). With a combined investment of $20.4 million since 2005 from various sources, WADA is having a positive impact on the lives of people and the health of ecosystems in 21 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The partners have invested into sustainable water and watershed resource management systems worldwide.
  • The 2008 award went to the Industrial Union of Donbass Corporation and the City of Alchevsk for its efforts to promote community and economic development through the Partnership for the Future of Alchevsk. The partnership brought together USAID/Ukraine, the Donbass Corporation – a steelmaker – and the city council in a $10 million effort to create jobs, introduce sustainable finance, upgrade water and communal waste management systems, and engage citizens in decisions affecting the development of their own community.
  • In 2009, the award went to USAID’s Mission in Sri Lanka in recognition of a GDA with Hayleys Sunfrost, a diversified agricultural conglomerate. Through this alliance, USAID/Sri Lanka demonstrated the power of the private sector to promote peace, stability, and economic growth in a post-conflict environment; the alliance successfully addressed challenges in its pilot phase, and demonstrated tangible benefits to the farmers that participated. Based on that success, the project is being scaled to reach 3,600 families, raising farmer incomes by 30% over the course of the alliance.


  1. ^ Secretary Colin L. Powell, Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, [1], May 15, 2001.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]