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President Obama, USAID Launch Innovation Fund for the Americas
April 18, 2012

April 17,  2012

People carry a piece of roofing
In this file photo, villagers help unload building supplies for new wooden houses in Maplat, Haiti.

President Obama has announced a new Innovation Fund for the Americas (IFA) to support cost-effective and innovative solutions to some of the Latin American and Caribbean region’s toughest development challenges. The president made the announcement during his April 14 address at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

As a region, Latin America and the Caribbean has made impressive social, economic and political progress in the past several decades, but countries continue to grapple with security, governance and climate change issues that could threaten these gains.

Based at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the IFA seeks to fund the most promising development solutions proposed by nongovernmental organizations, academia, entrepreneurs and the private sector. Using the agency’s Development Innovation Ventures staged financing model, successful applicants can access grants ranging from $100,000 to $15 million to pilot and rigorously test their ideas and bring them to scale, USAID says.

“This fund will tap into the ingenuity of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean and the world, to help USAID do better development at a lower cost,” said Mark Feierstein, USAID assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Anyone with a good idea is welcome to apply.”

The IFA is especially seeking proposals that address:

• Energy, climate change, citizen security, at-risk youth, education and democracy challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean.

• Challenges within the four pillars of the U.S. government’s Haiti strategy: infrastructure and energy, food and economic security, health and other basic services, and governance and rule of law.