The International Development Initiative works to support USAID’s goal of achieving inclusive, sustained and resilient economic growth in developing countries in partnership with local governments and the private sector.

The restructuring of global supply chains presents unique challenges and opportunities for advancing U.S. leadership and driving in-country economic growth. Many developing countries are at a crossroads, facing the choice between taking a rapid influx of foreign funds in exchange for their geopolitical autonomy and long-term fiscal sustainability, or pursuing market-led models that preserve economic freedom for citizens but require a patient, committed approach to building domestic capacity for economic growth. Making the latter path viable for developing countries requires supporting them in solving challenges such as leveraging the capabilities of the private sector; overcoming barriers to women’s economic participation; advancing employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, especially for rapidly growing youth populations; and strengthening higher education institutions and systems as drivers of workforce development and applied research that undergirds sustainable economic growth.

ASU’s approach to advancing economic growth leverages its strengths as a global university and its unique expertise across multiple areas. The International Development Initiative works with ASU experts to:

  • Optimize global supply chains and increase market access, especially in critical fields such as health care and agriculture, by leveraging the expertise and global industry connectivity of ASU’s top-ranked Department of Supply Chain.
  • Empower women and girls through training in business and entrepreneurship and by creating education and employment pathways.
  • Strengthen higher education as an engine of economic growth by working with ministries and institutions to increase the quality and relevance of education, partner with the private sector, develop the workforce and advance development-oriented research.
  • Prioritize private sector engagement in project approaches, including by creating substantive roles for local private sector partners that strengthen their capacity while leveraging their expertise and industry networks.

Throughout these approaches, the International Development Initiative draws on ASU’s extensive experience in innovating university-industry relationships and institutional transformation to drive economic growth at the local, regional and national scale.

Related projects

Group of young people pose for the camera

Young African Leadership Initiative Legacy Localization

RLCs in Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, South Africa; Alumni chapters in 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa

Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Legacy Localization seeks to unite the work of multiple YALI stakeholders to conceive a pan-sub-Saharan African entity named YALI Africa to develop the next generation of African leaders through the harmonization and strengthening of a comprehensive leadership training program in 49 countries in Africa.

Center for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain-Africa (CARISCA)


The Center for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain-Africa (CARISCA) is an innovative partnership between ASU and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) that works to strengthen local capacity for improved supply chains in Ghana and throughout Africa.

Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT)


Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) is a transformative USAID-funded program that leverages a diverse consortium of government, industry and academic partners to enable inclusive, technology-driven economic growth in Vietnam.

Discover more projects

Delve deeper into other International Development Initiative projects designed to create a safe, prosperous, equitable future for citizens around the world.