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Business & Global Development: Changing Players, Problems, and Policies

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Business and Global Development: Changing Players, Problems, and Policies
Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI) 2012 Conference
Friday, February 24th, 2012
Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room (Washington, D.C.)

Conference Description
In recent decades, foreign investment and domestic entrepreneurship have flourished in the developing world. New foreign investors are advancing international development, and improved strategies and technologies are evolving to meet the unique challenges of the Information Age. Innovative and dynamic approaches to U.S. policymaking are creating new opportunities in the developing world. By uniting these topics at the GPPI Conference, we hope to generate purposeful conversation regarding the inevitable transformation of business and development worldwide.

Panel A: Promoting Business for Development: Innovations in US Policy
Moderator: Holly Wise, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service

Official aid programs have always been implemented with US interests in mind. With the latest National Security Strategy officially recognizing the importance of development in achieving security aims, this view is even more entrenched. At the same time, there is a sense of new innovations in promoting business development in US development policy and amongst US NGOs. This panel will explore the nexus of these innovations, and discuss what the future holds.

  • Address new innovation in business promotion and investment abroad.
  • Discuss the evolution of the approaches taken by the MCC and USAID.
  • Address effects of changing national security prerogatives on business promotion and investment.
  • How are government agencies promoting innovations? Are NGOs better positioned to? What is their role?
  • What does the future hold?

Panel B: New Donors/Funders
Moderator: Dr. Roxann Van Dusen, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service

Development has traditionally been driven by the donors in the North. However, governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are now entering the development scene both as donors and as engaged participants rather than “recipients” in the development dialogue. These countries are also involved in “South-South” cooperation, and becoming increasingly active as advisors and investors in various countries in the South. The distinction between “donors” and “investors” is becoming increasingly blurred. This panel will assess the implications for country and global development of two parallel trends — the increased involvement of non-traditional, “southern” donors in financing development; and the growing volume of foreign direct investment that is dwarfing aid flows.

Current/Relevant Questions

  • How do these new country participants compare to the traditional Western country donors?
  • What countries/geographical regions do the new country participants focus on? What are the priority countries and regions for these new actors? Do they care more or less for recipient need?
  • Do they exhibit a stronger or weaker bias towards politically unstable countries? Do they pursue commercial self interests more than the old actors?
  • How big is the financial impact of these new participating countries in terms of the level of their investments and funding?
  • How do the new actors manage their development budgets, and what are the principles that guide them?
  • What are the main aims and objectives of the development cooperation of these actors?

Panel C: Cutting Edge Solutions for Development on the Ground
Moderator: Bill Novelli, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

The Information Age has created a number of opportunities for innovative approaches (including novel technologies) to influence business development around the world. This panel will explore new on the ground approaches to successful business practices in developing countries. 

Current/Relevant Questions

  • How do new approaches to development differ from previous paradigms? Are they working? Share a success story.
  • How have states created a friendly policy environment for the use of new approaches in business development? Compare new vs. old policies.
  • How do businesses, governments, and financial institutions work together on the ground to foster successful economic development? How do new approaches influence this process?
  • As companies expand marketing to the base of the pyramid (BoP), how has this contributed to development? What are the problems and opportunities in corporate expansion of BoP markets?
  • How do technology spillovers catalyze development?
  • What are the potentials for business incubators in the developing world?
  • How is mobile technology used on a regular basis? How has this changed in the last 15-20 years? How is this different than in the western countries?
  • How do new development approaches bridge the particular difficulties faced by rural communities?
  • Money can be transferred faster and easier with the advent of mobile technology; how do we avoid potential abuses on the ground?
  • How do we balance bank, company, and government transparency/accountability and information security? How should we?