The White House Summit on Global Development

Real live, real outcomes

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Watch President Obama's remarks

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Global dev - intro

Since taking office, President Obama has sought to define "global development" as more than mere charity, but as a comprehensive investment in initiatives, and people, that will create real outcomes for communities around the globe. As he said to the United Nations in 2010, "In our global economy, progress in even the poorest countries can advance the prosperity and security of people far beyond their borders, including my fellow Americans."

Over the last eight years, the Obama Administration has confronted some of the most daunting development and humanitarian challenges in modern history. The President has helped reshape the U.S. approach to development by partnering with countries, global coalitions and the engines of American innovation: corporations, foundations, universities, NGOs, and faith-based communities. From Feed the Future to the Open Government Partnership, the Obama Administration's signature initiatives and development partnerships have dramatically reduced poverty, malnutrition, and infant and maternal mortality, while spurring entrepreneurship and economic growth, increasing the number of adolescent girls in school, and helping to build more stable, accountable, and inclusive societies.

Even as we celebrate these gains and reflect on shared progress, we are reminded that billions of our fellow human beings still face poverty, violence, and disease every day. Despite the advances we’ve made, the circumstances in developing nations around the world demand creative and sustained global action.

On July 20, President Obama is joining entrepreneurs, diplomats, civil society members, public and private sector financing partners, and development leaders at the White House Summit on Global Development to mark our global progress and find ways to catalyze further development efforts that will improve real lives and deliver real outcomes in six key areas: energy, food security, global health, governance, partnership, and youth.

Summit Agenda


Wednesday, July 20, 2016
9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.


Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.


President Barack Obama

Gayle Smith
Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Strive Masiyiwa
Global Humanitarian, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet

Global dev - Energy


Teresia Turns on the Light

Imagine what life is like off the grid. It means falling on stones while walking at night. It means fear of stepping on lurking snakes or scorpions. Mothers deliver babies in the dark; children who wake in the night are fed and changed chiefly by touch. Torches, candles and kerosene lamps flirt with disaster in huts made of trees and mud. This is what life is like for nine out of 10 rural Tanzanians. But today some communities are being transformed with help from Power Africa,­ President Obama’s flagship energy initiative which aims to double access to electricity in sub­-Saharan Africa.

Sustainable development and energy security are fundamental to economic prosperity, no matter what country you live in. For many communities around the world, a lack of access to energy is crippling much-needed economic growth. In sub-Saharan Africa, that lack of access is a problem that affects nearly two-thirds of the continent.

In 2013, President Obama launched Power Africa, an initiative that takes a new approach to increasing access to energy by providing a range of financial, technical, and policy tools to overcome the obstacles facing energy access. The U.S. made an initial commitment of $7 billion, which has since leveraged more than $3 billion from private sector and foreign government partners. Today, Power Africa has supported 4,300 megawatts worth of projects that are expected to generate over five million new connections to electricity. This year, Power Africa announced a path to increasing access by 30,000 megawatts and adding 60 million new electrical connects by 2030.

Panel discussion

Power Africa: Partnerships as a Source of Power


Leocadia I. Zak
Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency — moderator

Rachel Kyte
CEO, Sustainable Energy for All

Nebiyou Girma
Adviser, Power Africa Transaction and Reform Program

Joseph Brandt
CEO and President, Contour Global

Read the participants' biographies.

Global dev - Food Security

Food Security

Hapsatou for Senegal’s Health

In her tiny village in rural Senegal, Hapsatou Ka wears many hats to fight the stubborn malnutrition that has robbed young people of a healthy future for so long. All in a day, she acts as teacher, leader, advocate and entrepreneur. In Senegal and around the world, the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Initiative supports educators like Hapsatou who help put entire communities on the path to food security and better health.

When President Obama took office the world was witnessing a spike in food prices across the globe; soon after he called for a global food security initiative. The world answered, by tripling donor assistance to agricultural development, renewing investments in research, and committing to invest in the comprehensive country plans designed by developing countries. The President’s leadership and the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative have placed food security high on the world’s agenda, with significant results. In 2015, Feed the Future:

  • Helped over nine million smallholder farmers, food producers, and rural families adopt innovations to improve productivity, helping boost incomes by more than $800 million.
  • Reached nearly 18 million children with vital nutrition interventions, helping drop childhood stunting by 12-32 percent and poverty by 12-26 percent in areas where the initiative is at work.

In July 2016, President Obama signed the Global Food Security Act into law, legislation that institutionalizes Feed the Future and helps put the end of global poverty and hunger within reach in our lifetime.

Panel discussion

Feed the Future: Partnerships for a Food-Secure 2030


Tom Vilsack
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture — moderator

Willy Foote
Founder and CEO, Root Capital

Shenggen Fan
Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute

Agnes Kalibata
President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

Read the participants' biographies.

Global dev - Global Health

Global Health

Battling Ebola: the Heroes

What causes people to want to give their lives to helping others? From the contact tracers hunting down new cases; to the doctors and nurses treating the sick; to the burial teams who prevent the dead from harming those they loved. The Ebola crisis devastated families and communities throughout West Africa. But from this heartbreak, we’ve seen stories of unparalleled courage. The U.S. Government supports the heroes of the Ebola response.

Under President Obama, the U.S. has nearly tripled our investments in global health, leading to significant and important outcomes:

  • An AIDS-free generation is now in sight: Since 2009, the number of people receiving life-saving treatment through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has increased from nearly 2.5 million to 9.5 million at the end of 2015; 1.5 million babies have been born AIDS-free to mothers infected with HIV/AIDS, and the United States is positioned to realize President Obama’s commitment to meet the bold new target of 12.9 million people on treatment by 2017 and to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls.
  • We’ve ramped up our fight against malaria: The U.S. Government is now the largest donor to global malaria efforts worldwide. Over the past 15 years, through U.S. Government investments in the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and other partnerships, an estimated 6.2 million malaria deaths have been averted.
  • We are ending preventable child and maternal deaths and are close to eradicating polio: The Obama Administration has challenged the world to end preventable child and maternal deaths, and since 2008 helped save the lives of 4.6 million children and 200,000 mothers. U.S. contributions to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have helped to immunize more than 500 million kids and prevent more than seven million deaths. With a relentless focus on neglected tropical diseases, the United States has leveraged more than $11 billion in donated medicines, reaching nearly 700 million people with life-saving treatments. We have made tremendous progress in the fight to eradicate polio, and we are close to wiping this disease off the face of the earth, forever.
  • We launched the Global Health Security Agenda: A full year before the first cases of Ebola came to light in West Africa, President Obama launched the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to drive a worldwide effort to ensure that all countries can prevent, detect and respond to health threats. The United States has committed to assist at least 31 countries in achieving the GHSA targets and to build national, regional, and international capability to address infectious disease threats, and G-7 leaders have now matched this commitment by collectively pledging to assist 76 countries and regions.

Panel discussion

Transforming Global Health through Evidence and Partnerships


Ambassador Susan Rice
Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor — moderator

Michelle Nunn

Dr. Kent Brantly
Doctor, John Peter Smith Family Medicine Residency Program

Pape Gaye
President and Chief Executive Officer, IntraHealth International

Read the participants' biographies.

Global dev - Governance


My Name is Tania

In Cartagena, Colombia, life can be hard, and even dangerous, for transgender people. But one activist refuses to accept the status quo. Meet Tania, a young philosophy student, who is stepping up, fighting back, and taking on the establishment with the civil society group, Caribe Afirmativo. In Latin America and across the world, the U.S. Government supports human dignity and human rights.

The ground-breaking inclusion and adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace and governance shows universal agreement that combating corruption, access to justice, peace and security, good governance and human rights are fundamental for advancing development globally and vital to ending poverty and fighting inequality. On his first day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum describing what good governance is, both in the United States and abroad. A government should be transparent and accountable, participatory and accessible to its citizens, and collaborative with all sectors to create real progress and tangible outcomes. Since then, we have:

  • Launched to track the $30 billion in U.S. foreign assistance across U.S. agencies that implement it.
  • Joined seven other heads of state to launch the Open Government Partnership, a global partnership between governments and civil society in 70 countries to advance transparency and accountability, bolster citizen engagement, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
  • Established the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, a network of over 150 members of government, civil society, business, international organizations, and academia to help countries employ data to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Bolstered our commitment to Stand with Civil Society, by providing technical, financial, and logistical support to promote and protect the right of citizens and civil society to freely associate, meaningfully engage with government, and constructively participate in processes to improve the well-being of their countries.

Panel discussion

Transparency, Accountability, and Open Government


Ambassador Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations — moderator

Rakesh Rajani
Director of Democratic Participation and Governance, Ford Foundation

Honorable Svitlana Zalishchuk
Member of the Parliament, Ukraine

Douglas Rutzen
President and CEO, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Read the participants' biographies.

Global dev - Partnership


Amani’s Big Idea

Young Palestinian inventor Amani Mustafa Abu Tair never wanted to play with a Barbie. Instead, she says: "I wanted to open the radio. I wanted to open the TV." Today, the 25-year-old prodigy has invented a device that helps blind children in her community learn to read braille. And in June of 2016, she was one of several hundred global innovators to attend President Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Across the world, the U.S. Government supports entrepreneurs like Amani, transforming lives one idea at a time.

President Obama has piloted a new approach in global development, leveraging an expanding array of new and non-traditional partners, harnessing cutting-edge technologies, accelerating research, and scaling innovations to support sustainable development. Over the past seven years, the U.S. Government mobilized more than $100 billion from the private sector to help lift developing nations out of poverty. In 2015 alone, USAID has maintained over 360 active public-private partnerships that, over their active lifetimes, have leveraged more than $5.9 billion from private sector and other partners. After USAID launched the Grand Challenges for Development, eight projects are underway that range from developing off-grid energy solutions to designing creative ways to combat the Zika virus.

The President also established the Global Development Council in an effort to engage the private sector, academia, philanthropic institutions, and more to engage external expertise in emerging global development issues.

Panel discussion

Partnering to Finance the Sustainable Development Goals


Marisa Lago
‎Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development, U.S. Department of the Treasury — moderator

Alix Zwane
CEO, Global Innovation Fund

Julie T. Katzman
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Inter-American Development Bank

Elizabeth L. Littlefield
President and CEO, U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Gary Hattem
President, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Managing Director, Community Development Finance Group, Deutsche Bank

Dr. Mohamed A. El‐Erian
Chair, President's Council on Global Development

Read the participants' biographies.

Global dev - Youth


Today’s Girls Tomorrow’s Future

For Nada, Azza, and Nourhan, acceptance into the Maadi STEM School in Cairo was a dream come true. Only 120 students are chosen from across Egypt. In every region in the world, women and girls are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math, and denied opportunities in education, entrepreneurship and finance that could help break the cycle of poverty. The U.S. Government's Let Girls Learn Initiative is helping them get the education they deserve.

The next generation of leaders will ultimately be responsible for their countries' success. With global youth populations concentrated in the least developed countries in the world, providing young people with the tools they need to succeed—education, leadership training, entrepreneurial values—is a sustainable development solution. That is why President Obama has focused on fostering young leaders around the globe. The President's Young Leadership initiatives—in Africa (YALI), Southeast Asia (YSEALI), the Americas (YLAI), and most recently Europe (YTILI)—help the next generation of young leaders develop the skills and opportunities to advance their countries and regions through government leadership, strengthening civil society, and business and entrepreneurship.

The President also joined First Lady Michelle Obama to launch the Let Girls Learn initiative. Let Girls Learn expands education opportunities for girls, including in areas of conflict and crisis. By leveraging public-private partnerships and commitments from multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, Let Girls Learn improves the lives of adolescent girls worldwide. Let Girls Learn extends its partnership to foreign governments, including Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom, who have collectively pledged nearly $600 million towards girls' education globally.

Panel discussion

Engaging Generation Now


Dana J. Hyde
CEO, Millennium Challenge Corporation — moderator

Luthando Chris Vuba
Assistant Director for Integrated Government Planning, Department of Transport and Public Works, Cape Town, South Africa

Marwa Moaz
Co-founder and Managing Director, El Mashroua LLC, and Middle East/North Africa Regional Director, Bamyan Media

Christiana Ana Lang
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand

Shannon Green
Director and Senior Fellow, Human Rights Initiative, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Read the participants' biographies.