Venture Social Investment ‘Could Be A New Thinking’ In Development Aid

In an opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog,” Taufiqur Rahman, an international health consultant and founder of the Center for Implementation Efficiency, explores the concept of “venture social investment or VSI,” in which the idea of venture capitalism is used “to reward good ideas or sustainable initiatives by investing limited foreign aid money to gain a much bigger and sustainable impact in developing countries” and creating “a partnership between developed world and low-income countries.” Stating that “[f]oreign aid is an investment so that low-income countries gradually become more affluent and can fund their own development programs, thus saving millions of lives,” Rahman writes and outlines several programs and funds working toward this goal, including USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Program, the Grand Challenge Exploration fund of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNITAID, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

VSI “is an effective medium for efficient use of resources,” Rahman continues, adding, “VSI could be a new thinking in the development assistance sector and use the techniques of the private sector to improve efficiency.” In addition, “VSI can accelerate use of existing technologies, which are severely underused in poor countries to benefit millions of people,” he states, concluding, “It can fund new technologies or systems or processes for a larger impact and accelerated improvements in low-income countries” (1/14).

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