Technology and Innovation as Drivers of Development

April 19 – October 7, 2022
Technology is an important topic at a crucial juncture for Global Development.  Technology can empower people in developing countries directly, giving them access to information and both life-enhancing and life-saving services.  Technology can fuel a new generation of innovation.  Technology also brings new tools that reshape the delivery of global development interventions themselves, with the potential to increase the reach, effectiveness, and scale while reducing costs.  In addition, the macro-economic shifts being driven by technological advances are reshaping the development landscape itself, both opening new opportunities and challenges.

Dr. Naohiro Kitano
Dr. Naohiro Kitano is Director, JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In 1983, he graduated from Civil Engineering Department, Waseda University and joined former Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, Japan (OECF). Prior to the current assignment, he served as Associate Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University from 2003 to 2005, Director General, Development Assistance Department II, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in 2008, Director General, East and Central Asia and the Caucasus Department, JICA from 2008 to 2012, and Deputy Director, JICA Research Institute from 2012 to 2016. He studied in Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing from 1981 to 1982, and obtained Ph.D. (City and Regional Planning) from Cornell University in 1997. His publications include: “Estimating China’s foreign aid II: 2014 update.” JICA-RI Working Paper No. 131. JICA Research Institute. June 2016, “China’s foreign aid at a transitional stage.” Asian Economic Policy Review 9(2), 301–17, “Japanese development assistance to ASEAN countries.” In: Shiraishi and Kojima (eds), ASEAN–Japan relations. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. 2014, “Japanese contribution in supporting China’s reforms: A study based on ODA loans.” China Report 40(4), 461-488. 2004, “Analysis of spatial organization and transportation demand in an expanding urban area: Sendal, Japan, 1972-1992.” In: Evenett, Wu & Yusuf (eds), Facets of globalization: International and local dimensions of development. World Bank. 2001, and Kitano and Harada. "Estimating China’s Foreign Aid 2010-2013." Journal of International Development 28(7), 1050–1074. 2016.

Mr. Erik Hersman
Mr. Erik Hersman is an entrepreneur and technologist focused on advancing the use of technology in Africa. He is the CEO of BRCK a rugged wireless WiFi device designed and engineered in Kenya for use throughout the emerging markets.  In 2010 he founded the iHub, Nairobi’s innovation hub for the technology community, bringing together entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and the investment community. He is also a co-founder of Ushahidi, the free and open source software for crowdsourcing crisis information, and also established and as key online communities promoting creative solutions entrepreneurship and development challenges across Africa.  He is also a general partner in the Savannah Fund, and sits on the boards of Gearbox, Akirachix, the Kijabe Forest Trust, and the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI).  You can find him on Twitter at @WhiteAfrican.

Ms. Kate Wilson
Ms. Kate Wilson believes that digital technology products, new technology policies and updated business model practices are required to make transformative change in the lives of the under-served and decrease the growing digital divide.  Kate joined DIAL in February, 2016 as its CEO to fulfill this vision.  She has committed the past 26 years to bringing diverse stakeholders together to find common ground in business, technology, and policy, holding leadership roles in both the corporate and non-profit sector. Prior to DIAL, Kate co-founded and led the Digital Health Solutions Group at PATH, the Seattle-based international health organization driving transformative innovation to save lives. During her eight years at PATH, Kate designed and led several global projects, working in both Africa and Asia, most notably those including the use of digital technology to improve the delivery of immunization services and health information systems for universal health coverage.  Prior to PATH, Kate held diverse senior roles in the commercial software sector and international trade. At Microsoft, Intel, and General Electric, Kate held roles in ICT product development and launch, strategic planning, and business development, including launching Xbox Live in Europe and leading deal negotiations with telecom providers in 25 markets worldwide.  In the non-profit sector, Kate led policy efforts as the President of the Washington Council on International Trade and the Director for Indonesia Affairs at the U.S. ASEAN Council. At both organizations, she partnered closely with U.S. corporations and government partners to strike mutually beneficial international trade agreements and expand market access for small and medium size enterprises.Kate holds an M.B.A. and an M.A. in Southeast Asian studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a B.A. in International Relations from the College of William and Mary. She has worked in more than 18 countries across three continents, including more than nine years in Southeast Asian economies. She has spoken widely at conferences and on television and is the author of several papers on the use of ICT in emerging economies.

Ms. Suzanne Fry
Ms. Suzanne Fry is Director of the Strategic Futures Group at the National Intelligence Council (NIC).  The NIC supports the Director of National Intelligence in his role as head of the Intelligence Community (IC) and serves as a bridge between the intelligence and policy communities, a source of deep substantive expertise on all regions and functional intelligence issues, and a facilitator of Intelligence Community collaboration and outreach.  At the NIC, Ms. Fry is responsible for global issues and long-range analysis as well as the Global Trends series, the NIC’s flagship unclassified assessment of the future strategic landscape.  The most recent report, Global Trends: Paradox of Progress, published in January, may be found at  Prior to joining the NIC, Ms. Fry worked a range of governance, instability, and strategic warning issues worldwide and led the US Intelligence Community’s Political Instability Task Force.  Ms. Fry received her PhD in Politics from New York University and BA in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame. She is originally from San Diego, CA.

Moderator: Ms. Ann Mei Chang
Ms. Ann Mei Chang is an executive leader at the intersection of innovation, technology, and global development. She served as Chief Innovation Officer and the first Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab at USAID in the Obama administration. The Lab is the newest bureau at USAID and leverages 21st Century advances in technology and innovation to accelerate the impact and scale of global development. Previously, Ann Mei was the Chief Innovation Officer at Mercy Corps and served as the Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to her pivot to the public sector, Ann Mei had over twenty years of experience at leading Silicon Valley companies including Google, Apple, Intuit, and some startups. Most recently, she was as a Senior Engineering Director at Google, where she led worldwide engineering for mobile applications and services, delivering 20x growth to $1B in annual revenues in just 3 years.  At Google, she also led the product development team for Emerging Markets. Ann Mei holds a BS degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.  She is a member of the 2011 class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute and was recognized as one of the Women In the World: 125 Women of Impact for 2013 by Newsweek/The Daily Beast.