This week I am attending Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington D.C. In the past, this conference was focused on Microsoft’s commercial partners – the 700,000 partners who work with us to develop innovative applications built on our technology. This year 10,000 attendees, 60% from overseas and representing 190+ countries have joined us here. While there are plenty of traditional technology partners in attendance, I’d like to highlight some of the non-commercial partners, especially the organizations me and my team support, namely the International Organizations.
We work closely with inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), international financial institutions (IFIs), and regional and bilateral agencies to help them reach their objectives of assisting countries to foster economic growth, promote social development and address environmental sustainability. Development experts, academics and policymakers agree that information and communication technology (ICT) can play an important role in promoting economic growth, and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Together with these partners, we identify areas where Microsoft’s technology, know-how and resources complement their work and can help them achieve their mandates. Engagement is based on the idea that public-private partnerships can enable more effective program development and delivery through the sharing of mutual expertise, realizing a 1+1=3 model. Our partnerships vary in terms of focus, depth and projects around the world as well as in specific geographies.
Those attending this year’s Partner Conference with us include Dr. Roberto Vellutini, Vice President for Countries of the Inter-American Development Bank, Karen D. Turner, Director of USAID’s Office of Development Partners, Marc Breslaw, Executive Director USA of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Gianluca Bruni, Chief of IT Emergency Preparedness and Response for the World Food Programme.
Examples of how we work together with our international organization partners include:
- The Haiti Integrated Government Platform: together with the Inter-American Development Bank and our technology partner Infusion Development, we are working with the government of Haiti to deploy a solution that will help them manage the donor funding system supporting their rebuilding efforts and to establish a foundation for eGovernment services;
- With the World Food Program (WFP) and our partner Twisted Pair we are deploying technology that leverages the Office Communicator Server (OCS) and greatly enhances the monitoring and communication capabilities of the WFP delivery and incident systems;
- Together with the UNHCR we have helped them develop proGres, a global refugee registration system, and are working on a new computer education program to be deployed in refugee camp schools.
These are just a few examples of the development-focused work we conduct with these important partners. As aid dispersements grow by a factor of three, natural disasters increase in number and intensity and political conflicts continue to displace people from their homes, the demand for services and support by international organizations continues to grow. Through our partnerships we aim to do our part to help them apply technology to scale both their operations and their reach, as they improve lives around the world. Through developing solutions to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, our work with international organizations illustrates Microsoft’s commitment to helping people globally realize their potential.
Frank McCosker is the Managing Director of Multilateral and Bilateral Organisations, Public Sector