Season 4 Episode 2 With Raj Kumar of Devex: Speaking to a Million-Strong Global Aid Workplace

Listen in on our discussion on the huge changes that the $200bn global aid sector is undergoing with someone at the center of the debate – Washington, DC-based Raj Kumar, Founding President and Editor-in-Chief at 130-strong Devex, the media and recruitment platform for the global development community.

In my chat with Raj, we look at his journey from Georgetown via political campaigning to starting a dot com at the urging of his professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard – a dot com which now has a database of a million aid professionals round the world, as well as:

  • the comparison between a $200bn aid industry, the $200bn global Workplace Learning industry – and how much the world spends on iPhones every year
  • the Devex offering – from news to recruitment services, from market and business intelligence/opportunities
  • the move from charity and state aid to heavy commercial (Microsoft, Starbucks) to private philanthropy (The Gates Foundation)
  • the complexity of his world – from the legacy of Colonialism and humanitarianism to today’s geopolitical economic and security motivations
  • the China factor
  • the tectonic metric shift: from ‘charity’ to ‘results’ – from ‘projects’ to ‘process’
  • the importance and the challenges of capacity building
  • and much more.


The core text here has to be Raj’s book, The Business of Changing the World: How Billionaires, Tech Disrupters, and Social Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Aid Industry.

Raj invites us to follow him on Twitter here, and, of course, his main platform remains Devex itself, a great source for news, analysis and opportunity in the aid sector.

Some of the innovative companies and initiatives Raj name-checked in the show include;

  • Hello Tractor – the ‘Uber of agricultural vehicles’!
  • Simprints – Building technology to radically increase transparency and effectiveness in global development, making sure that every vaccine, every dollar, every public good reaches the people who need them most.
  • Zipline – blood delivery by drone.

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