Decoding Diversity: Financial and Economic Returns of Diversity in Tech

overviewofdivintechDalberg and Intel released a new report that shows improving ethnic and gender diversity in the U.S. technology workforce represents a massive economic opportunity, one that could create $470 – $570Bn in new value for the tech industry, and could add 1.2 – 1.6% to national GDP.

Growth on this scale would have major implications for both the labor and consumer markets, supporting job creation and better products. And yet, the tech industry is not drawing upon the full pool of available talent. While it is no secret that women and racial/ethnic minorities are underrepresented at tech companies—by 19 percentage points for women compared to their presence in the US labor force; by 16 – 18 percentage points for Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans—it may come as a surprise to learn how little these figures have changed in the last 15 years.

For technical roles, female representation falls to 12 percent—far short of the proportion of women working in many other occupations traditionally viewed as male-dominated (to name a handful: oil drilling, metal forging, and investment management). Tech leaders recognize this gap and are investing to shrink it, yet racial/ethnic minority representation has only improved by 1 – 2 percentage points over fifteen years, and female representation has fallen by one percentage point. This report offers first-of-its-kind analysis of the economic impact of improving diversity in the tech sector, based on diversity data from nearly 170 companies.

These findings indicate clear correlations – though not necessarily causation – between more diverse tech company workforces and higher revenues, profits, and market value. The data show that every incremental percentage point in African American and Hispanic representation is linked with a three-percentage-point increase in revenues, meaning that the sector could generate an additional $300 – $370Bn each year if the racial/ethnic diversity of tech companies’ workforces reflected that of the talent pool. Similarly, closing the gap in female leadership representation could boost enterprise value by $320 – $390Bn across the sector. This analysis is only now possible because a number of tech companies—including such leading firms as Apple, Yahoo, and Facebook among others—have committed to publicly releasing diversity data.

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Enhancing the Resilience of Migrants

By Tamara Pironnet, Charles Kwenin, and Sam Lampert

This blog post is adapted from “Smart Practices that Enhance the Resilience of Migrants”, a study that Dalberg conducted on behalf of the International Federation of the Red Cross. A summary of the study can be found here.

People migrate in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families. While there are common motivations that many migrants share, each person migrates for unique reasons and frequently only makes the decision to leave their home when staying is no longer a viable option. This global phenomenon has existed for centuries and been an important driver of global welfare.  It is not a crisis. Migrants create companies and jobs, promote development by sending remittances to the families who remained in their country of origin, and enrich the communities where they live. When managed well, migration brings opportunities to both countries of origin and countries of destination.

On World Refugee Day, however, we must recognize the vast human cost incurred when migration is not managed well.  Developing an effective strategy to support migrants can be daunting because the needs of migrants vary enormously, based on a set of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that are unique to each individual. In our conversations with migrants, we’ve heard a range of stories that illustrate the combination of motivations that influenced a migrant’s decision to leave their home as well as the wealth of assets they brought with them.

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[Video] Yana Kakar at the African Development Bank Annual Meetings

Global Managing Partner Yana Kakar spoke at the African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings on enhancing economic opportunities for women and young people in the agriculture sector. Dalberg also helped develop and launch two of the Bank’s new “high five” strategic priorities on Agricultural Transformation and Jobs for Youth in Africa.

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Cassava Innovation Challenge

Cassava Innovation Challenge

Attempting to reduce the staggering amounts of food loss in cassava is ambitious.

Indeed research institutes have spent decades working on preservation and post-harvest technologies, but they mostly focused on increasing yield from the crop by reducing pests and combatting diseases that turned the crop brown and inedible, and increasing nutrition. The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), based in Nigeria, has successfully introduced drought-tolerant cassava varieties and technology to increase yields. Yet  the problem of high spoilage rates and limited shelf life still remains.

Which is exactly why we are excited to have launched this Challenge, in pursuit of ideas and solutions that could revolutionize both the cassava industry, the lives of smallholder farmers, and food security in Nigeria and beyond.

For more information and the official rules, please visit:   

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[Video] Impact Investing Is Becoming Scalable

Before chairing the Leaders’ Investment Strategy panel at Fund Forum Berlin 2016, Liesbet Peeters, Managing Partner at D. Capital, gave her perspective on the opportunities and challenges for impact investment.

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The State of the Off-Grid Appliance Market

With over two billion people worldwide lacking access to reliable electricity, the global off-grid appliance market is critical for increasing access to electricity and services. In particular, renewable energy technologies like the fast-growing solar portable lamps and solar home systems are helping to bridge the gap.

GlobalLEAPThe markets for renewable/hybrid mini-grids are still quite nascent, and they also show promise with better potential for higher loads. While the desire to power larger electrical appliances has in part driven the growth in off-grid energy solutions, most off-grid solutions sold today provide only basic, low-power energy services, such as lighting and mobile phone charging. Under-electrified households often cannot afford or access enough energy to power additional services, such as cooling, refrigeration, and entertainment.

However, we know from the purchasing behavior of electrified households in the same income segment that demand for these appliances is very high. Just as LEDs revolutionized the off-grid lighting market by dramatically increasing efficiency and reducing energy costs, increasing the viability of the under-electrified appliance market will require additional innovations in cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency, and market availability. Promoting off-grid appliances beyond lighting and cooking is important to further drive social impact.

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[Video] The Village of the Future: World Economic Forum on Africa Panel

Africa is the fastest urbanizing continent in the world, yet the vast majority still live in rural areas and will for the foreseeable future. The last decade transformed the African village — what do the next 10 years hold?

Dalberg Group Executive Director James Mwangi discusses how to bring innovation, 21st-century thinking, and the fourth industrial revolution to the village of the future in this 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa panel. James moderates the discussion on moving from a consumer to producer mindset, fostering distributed manufacturing, and building on the strength of village communities.

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Why Emergency Operations Centers are Crucial in Crisis Response

By Aurelien Chu and Mareme Gaye

The West Africa Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016 showed the weakness of national emergency management systems, and the danger of depending on international humanitarian and health actors to compensate for national gaps. Over 11,000 people died, primarily in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the economic impact in those three countries is estimated to be $359 million. Very limited public health capacity and resources in all three countries worsened the outbreak – Liberia has only 1 doctor per 100,000 inhabitants, and Sierra Leone has barely twice that amount. In addition, the initial international response was slow and ineffective; men and women at the front-line of the response reported feeling “abandoned and isolated in their daily struggle”.

The post-crisis response offers an opportunity to reassess emergency management practices, and to re-envision stronger and more resilient national, regional and continental systems. Dalberg has been working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to support several countries to develop Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) – national agencies responsible for preparing for public health crises and coordinating national responses. EOCs establish “real-time” biosurveillance laboratory networks, train multi-sectoral rapid response teams, and maintain staff capable of activating a coordinated emergency response within 120 minutes of a public health emergency.

Slide1Nigeria’s effective and large-scale response to Ebola shows the distinct advantage of EOCs. When Ebola appeared in Nigeria in July 2014, the country established an EOC, utilizing staff and systems from the country’s polio eradication campaign and partner organizations. Nigeria’s EOC coordinated contact tracing and testing of thousands of people, and isolated anyone with multiple Ebola related symptoms. As a result of this rapid, coordinated national response, the impact of Ebola in Nigeria was limited, with only 19 confirmed cases, and 8 deaths.

Following this success, and other successes in Senegal, governments, donors and private foundations are investing heavily in building better national and regional emergency management systems. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and African Union (AU) are collaborating to establish a continent-wide EOC in Addis Ababa, with regional sub-centers. In addition, other countries are working to establish national EOCs – Kenya launched its EOC last week.

In our experience, the success of an EOC is dependent on a strong organizational model, high functioning governance that allows for rapid decision making and deployment of resources, successful collaboration with other state and non-state actors, and adequate financing. These cross-cutting requirements are not unique to epidemics, and Senegal’s EOC (which Dalberg supported), already deals with other emergencies. Senegal’s EOC is responsible for the management of all major health-related incidents, including infectious disease risks, technological risks (e.g., industrial accidents), natural disasters (e.g., droughts), and social risks (e.g., public unrest and terrorism).

As EOCs continue to be at the heart of the Global Health Security Agenda, Dalberg and BMGF are hosting a side-event at the World Humanitarian Summit, to discuss how to transition from public health EOCs, to all-hazards EOCs, with a broader mandate and new institutional models.

For more information, attend our WHS event on Emergency Operations Centers, or read our primer.

For more information on Dalberg’s EOC work, contact Madji Sock:

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The Planet’s Health is Essential to Prevent Infectious Disease

By Sonila Cook, Oren Ahoobim, Jeff Berger, Emma Hodge, Bhavana Chilukuri


The Zika virus, now detected in 42 countries, is only the latest in a series of diseases establishing a new normal for pandemics. Sars ravaged South China in 2003Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) shocked the Middle East in 2012, and Ebola devastated west Africa in 2014. We have seen avian influenza emerge in new geographies alongside mosquito-borne viruses, such as Chikungunya. Over the past 50 years, more than 300 infectious pathogens have either newly developed or reemerged in places where they had never been seen before.

These trends raise questions: Why are infectious diseases occurring with such frequency? Why are pandemics the new normal?

Continue reading at The Guardian.

Photo credit: Flickr

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How do the poor see life? Rajen Makhijani’s TEDxNTU

Dalberg Associate Partner Rajen Makhijani explores how social class influences a person’s opinions of him or herself and perception of life.

He details why choices that might appear to be irrational — choosing to buy a cup of tea over health insurance, for example — are anything but.

screengrab Rajen

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