December 13, 2022

Castro, Kim Introduce New Framework to Promote Innovation at USAID

Bipartisan Fostering Innovation in Global Development Act would direct USAID to shift toward evidence-driven foreign aid models that leverage the power of the private sector

WASHINGTON – Today, Reps. Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Young Kim (CA-39) introduced the Fostering Innovation in Global Development Act, legislation to improve the effectiveness and impact of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) by authorizing $45 million annually for five years and establishing the appropriate authorities to expand and prioritize innovation-based approaches to international development within USAID.

“The United States is the only nation with the power to mobilize the world around effective, sustainable development initiatives that save lives,” said Congressman Castro. “As we rebuild from the pandemic and look ahead to the future, USAID should be a global champion of innovative, scalable, and evidence-based approaches to aid. The Fostering Innovation in Global Development Act will bring the private and public sectors together to make sure that every dollar spent on aid invests in a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future for people in the United States and across the world. I’m pleased to partner with Rep. Kim to introduce this bill and I look forward to our continued bipartisan work to build a resilient and forward-thinking ecosystem for foreign assistance.”

“By incorporating innovative technologies and new ideas into USAID’s operations, the Fostering Innovation and Global Development will bring foreign assistance into the 21st century, improve cost effectiveness and bring in more partners for the U.S. to work with,” said Congresswoman Kim. “I’m proud to lead this important bill with Rep. Joaquin Castro and will continue working across the aisle to ensure the U.S. maintains its leadership on the world stage.”

“At USAID, I saw first-hand how innovation and evidence-driven approaches can maximize the impact of our foreign assistance,” said Ann Mei Chang, the former Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab at the United States Agency for International Development. “The Fostering Innovation in Global Development Act will help bring USAID into the modern era and ensure that the United States continues to lead in international development.”

“We can make the United States the partner of first resort for countries and entrepreneurs that want to use innovation to accelerate economic and social progress,” said Walter Kerr, Executive Director of Unlock Aid. “This bill takes the best of what’s worked at other federal agencies to source and scale next-generation solutions and says we can do this at USAID, too.”

“FIGDA strengthens America’s ability to meet the hopes and aspirations of our friends and potential friends overseas,” said Daniel F. Runde, author, The American Imperative: Reclaiming Global Leadership through Soft Power.

“I congratulate Reps. Castro and Kim for introducing this critical piece of legislation to enhance and expand USAID's investments in new innovations that can be game changers for advancing progress in global development and health.  USAID is the world's leading development agency, and it must be at the forefront in driving new technologies and solutions to the biggest development challenges,” said former Congressman Ed Royce, Consensus for Development Reform Co-Chairman and Former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“This bill promotes effective foreign assistance by providing USAID with the authorities and resources required to advance innovation and to enable USAID to work more closely with solution providers in the private sector.  I applaud this bipartisan effort to strengthen our foreign assistance programming and to ensure that we are investing in the future of development,” said former Congressman Ted Yoho, Consensus for Development Reform Co-Chairman and Former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific Subcommittee.

The Fostering Innovation in Global Development Act would:

  • Authorize $45 million annually for five years to expand innovation within USAID’s programs and practices.
  • Direct USAID to submit a five-year strategy on advancing innovation.
  • Authorize the United States to participate in the Global Innovative Fund, a partnership between the United States, the United Kingdom, other governments, and other donor organizations to pool resources through innovative foreign assistance programs.
  • Establish the position of Chief Innovation Officer at USAID, with a mission to increase the application of innovation at USAID, utilize innovation-driven competitions, maintain a collection of innovative solutions and best practices to be shared across USAID, and administer the innovation grants, contracts, and prize award authorities and Innovation Fellows established by the bill.
  • Require each USAID bureau to have a senior advisor responsible for advancing matters related to innovation within that bureau.
  • Authorize the USAID administrator to hire up to 30 individuals at a time as “Innovation Fellows” who would work with the Chief Innovation Officer and then be assigned on detail to other USAID offices to improve integration of innovation programs through the agency.
  • Establish the Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program within USAID to include duties, applications, and administrative provisions.
  • Establish a “Proven Solutions” program to scale up identified approaches to international development.

For the bill text of the Fostering Innovation in Global Development Act, click here.