Today, as part of President Biden’s initiative to strengthen global infrastructure, USAID launched Digital Invest, a new blended finance program that seeks to mobilize private capital for digital finance and internet service providers (ISPs) serving traditionally excluded consumer populations worldwide.
This new program under the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP) aims to promote diverse competition, advance the use of secure network equipment, and reduce the gender digital divide through investments in safe, affordable, and inclusive digital services for underserved consumers in developing markets. Digital Invest provides technical assistance, fund capitalization support, and direct portfolio engagement to help financiers support earlier stage, higher risk projects and startups with clear development impact, including the advancement of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
In Digital Invest’s first year, USAID will leverage $3.45 million in U.S. government funding to accelerate the mobilization of an estimated $335 million through the following Global Development Alliance partnerships:
- Connectivity Capital is launching a sector-specific impact fund focused on expanding internet access in developing countries, supporting ISPs in building open and secure digital infrastructure to increase access to affordable broadband.
- E3 Capital (formerly Energy Access Ventures) seeks to improve access to digitally-enabled services across sub-Saharan Africa, with a portion of their fund dedicated to expanding connectivity to drive internet access and use.
- Integra Partners seeks to empower tech entrepreneurs to drive access to affordable and responsible financial and digital health services across South and Southeast Asia, with the vision that every person and business in the region should be able to manage and improve their financial and physical health digitally and at a reasonable cost.
- Lendable offers debt financing for financial technology companies (fintechs) operating in emerging and frontier markets, with a focus on increasing access to credit for small-and-medium-sized enterprises and supporting the digital business ecosystem.
- Accion Venture Lab, the investment arm of Accion International, provides early-stage capital and extensive support to innovative, scalable fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved.
Digital Invest is led by USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub as part of the U.S. government’s Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP), a whole-of-government global initiative to promote open, interoperable, reliable, and secure digital economies. This year’s partnerships are co-funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, USAID’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub, and USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub.
Digital Invest currently has an open call for concepts under USAID’s Global Development Alliance (GDA) APS to explore new partnerships in 2022. Financiers seeking to partner with USAID to mobilize private capital to support digital finance and ISPs in developing markets can learn more at www.usaid.gov/digital-development/digital-invest, with additional questions directed to the Digital Invest team at firstname.lastname@example.org.