Research in Africa has focused on inclusive development, upgrading, and workforce development opportunities for several countries in a range of agrifood, light manufacturing, and service industries. The following is a snapshot of work on Africa:


Primates and Beyond: Tourism Value Chains in East Africa

Tourism is an important economic driver in Africa. East African Community countries such as Kenya and Tanzania have long been popular safari destinations, with Rwanda and Uganda serving as stops as part of the “Gorilla Express”. As both countries look to diversify their appeal, value chain analysis can provide insight into how domestic businesses can connect with global actors to facilitate upgrading.

Maize Value Chains in East Africa

While the global industry is increasingly focused on ethanol production, maize in East Africa is an important food crop. With Kenya serving as significant processor, Ugandan—and Rwandan, to a lesser—producers can play a valuable role in the regional value chain.

Dairy Value Chains in East Africa

Although regional dairy trade in East Africa is far lower than the global average and only stands at below 1% of regional milk production, its recent rapid growth is promising. The way forward for dairy value chains in Rwanda and Uganda is contingent upon addressing the gap in ‘intangible’ capabilities.

Regional Value Chains in East Africa: Summary Report

Despite recent regional improvements in poverty reduction and economic growth rates in East Africa, firm productivity in the region remains low. This contrast creates uncertainty about whether the recent successes will persist without improvements in regional networks of production and trade. In partnership with the IGC, the Duke research team used the GVC framework to investigate the opportunities for and constraints to regional integration in three key sectors: dairy processing, maize production, and tourism.

Role of Private Firms in the Egyptian Maize Value Chain

Maize impacts both caloric intake and diet quality of the Egyptian population. Such importance is mostly driven by a shift in diets. The private sector, which relies on imports to cater to its maize needs, is the lead actor of the maize value chain. This brief first analyzes the importance of maize to Egypt’s food security. In a global context where maize prices are high and volatile, this brief describes the strategies adopted by Egyptian lead firms to secure supply and meet growing demand. Such strategies range from diversification to vertical integration and upgrading. Research Brief authors: Marie Veyrier, Ghada Ahmed, and Danny Hamrick.

Public-Private Partnerships in Global Value Chains: Can They Actually Benefit the Poor?

The past 15 years witnessed a proliferation of public-private partnerships (PPPs) between the private sector and international development organizations. In a retrospective assessment, this report examines the main concerns over the potential of PPPs to bring about inclusive development in three export-oriented agricultural sectors: the cocoa sector in Indonesia, the horticultural sector in Kenya, and the coffee sector in Rwanda. This research examines what historical PPPs can teach us about how to use this approach to actually benefit the poor.

Devex Impact published an article, “Can global value chain PPPs reach the poor? Latest lessons learned” on February 27, 2015, on the report.

A panel presented research findings on January 29, 2015 at the USAID Microlinks Seminar Series #18 in Washington, DC (presentation and video linked below). Ajmal also presented on June 17, 2015 for the 37th Annual Meeting of the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (view on SlideShare). It focused on the key trends that lead to success in public-private partnerships for development from the three cases.

Making Foreign Direct Investment Work for Sub-Saharan Africa: Chapter 7: Sector Case Study: Apparel

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is becoming an increasingly significant catalyst for output and trade in developing countries, in part due to a major expansion in the scope of global value chains (GVCs). FDI delivers a number of important contributions to economic development in terms of investment, employment, and foreign exchange.

Comparing Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s Wheat GVC

Wheat is one of the most important commodities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the region is the largest importer of wheat and other grains. While there are many challenges in terms of securing stable wheat supplies, like storage capacity and water reserves, sub-regional differences exist in the organization of the wheat industry and subsequent challenges. This brief sheds light on these differences through a comparison of Egyptian and Saudi Arabian wheat value chains. We conclude that while many issues, such as availability of currency reserves, span the region, other issues are country or sub-region specific.

Ghada, Dayne, and Gary presented “Shifting Governance Structures in the Wheat Value Chain: Implications for Food Security in MENA” at the GVCs and Trade Policies for Food and Nutrition Security workshop at Roma Tre University in Rome, Italy on September 26, 2014.

Capturing the Gains in Africa: Making the Most of Global Value Chain Participation

This report was commissioned as a background paper for the annual OECD publication, “Africa Economic Outlook (AEO)” 2014. It provides a critical overview of the Capturing the Gains (CTG) research findings from Africa across three industries: horticulture, apparel and tourism. Specific emphasis is placed on identifying opportunities and challenges for economic and social upgrading within African GVCs so that workers and small producers can capture a fairer share of the gains from trade and economic growth. The report also offers sector specific GVC policy recommendations for African policy makers.