Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people than any other curable infectious disease, with nearly two million victims annually. The most widely used test, smear microscopy, is 125 years old and routinely misses half of all cases and, in many regions, takes too long to get results.
Global Development Prize Group
The Global Development Prize Group will focus on finding methods to catalyze profit-generating firms regarding both financial as well as human development metrics. Initiatives in this Group would address major challenges with agriculture, capital, health and water. The ultimate goal of these competitions would be to reward the most scalable enterprises that create wealth and lift up the widest set of stakeholders from poverty.
Credit for photo of Bangladeshi girl drinking from a hand pump: WaterAid / Juthika Howlader.
Concepts Under Consideration
African Entrepreneurship XPRIZE
There are countless talented potential entrepreneurs in Africa. However, the training and support for these entrepreneurs to build scalable businesses are lacking. Creating success stories and role models of entrepreneurs able to build new start-up companies that employ significant numbers of individuals will help eliminate poverty in African nations.
In a world of ATMs and online banking that can provide reliable and secure records, blood is shed and nations are upended over the simple counting of votes in places ranging from Florida to Tunisia. The creation of an accurate, verifiable voting technology would be a crucial advancement in the promulgation and sustaining of democracy.
Low-Cost Housing XPRIZE
More than one billion people worldwide lack adequate housing. The cost, speed, and technologies of home construction have not changed in centuries. This competition seeks to bring to market new approaches to construction that will re-invent housing, making it very robust to natural disaster, low-cost energy, sanitation, and broadband-enabled utilizing modern-day technologies. This competition will ultimately usher in a new paradigm of affordable, sustainable, and dignified housing.
Nearly one billion people on Earth lack adequate access to safe drinking water and 1.5 million children die per year of water-borne diseases. In terms of supply, 97 percent of the Earth’s water is salt water and an additional two percent is tied up in polar ice caps, leaving less than one percent as accessible fresh water. Although approximately 70 percent of the world’s population lives on coastlines, readily available seawater cannot be converted to drinking water because current desalination technologies are expensive and energy-intensive. What if we had a breakthrough in desalination?
A staggering two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiency, which is perhaps the most prevalent and the most addressable part of world hunger. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals (e.g., iodine, iron, vitamin A) that prevent brain damage and forestall disease. A group of Nobel-laureate economists ranked micronutrient interventions as the single most cost-effective way to combat global poverty.
The humble cookstove is surprisingly the most mundane of killers. More than two billion people worldwide use biomass cookstoves, which can require hours to gather sticks and other fuel every day. Each year, nearly two million people, mostly women and children, die from carbon monoxide and other poisoning produced by incomplete combustion from these cookstoves.