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Views from the Brookings Blum Roundtable on Global Poverty: Innovation and Technology for Development

A shoemaker shows a mobile phone leather case he made at a workshop in Abu Zaid market in Khartoum May 9, 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Several staff members and scholars from the Global Economy and Development program have traveled to Aspen, Colorado for the annual Brookings Blum Roundtable—an off-the-record forum for global leaders, entrepreneurs and practitioners to discuss innovative ideas and advance groundbreaking initiatives to alleviate global poverty. Since 2004, participants have come together for our roundtable to explore timely subjects ranging from emergent new players in the international donor community to the poverty-insecurity nexus.

This year’s theme is “Innovation and Technology for Development.” New technologies offer the promise of breakthroughs in development and poverty alleviation by spurring innovative business models and pushing down transaction costs in the developing world. One example many of our participants have been talking about is mobile money, with a rapid rate of scale up in Kenya that is unparalleled, having reached more than half the country’s population in less than three years.

In the spirit of this year’s theme of innovation and technology, we have incorporated social media and other online elements to the roundtable. We are live tweeting from the conference using the Twitter hashtag #Blum2012. We are also filming short videos of some of our participants answering questions about their thoughts on innovation and technology for development.

We will be posting these videos starting August 1 and into the next week. We hope you enjoy watching them and welcome your feedback on the topics our participants are addressing.

-Laurence Chandy


Rakesh Rajani, Twaweza

Kemal Derviş, The Brookings Institution

Mung Ki Woo, MasterCard Worldwide

Mary Robinson, Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice

Juliana Rotich, Ushahidi

Lalitesh Katragadda, Google

Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State

Rajiv Shah, USAID:

Gillian Tett, Financial Times:

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University: 

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