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Month: December 2010

Realpolitik, Capitalism, Wikileaks, and Nigeria

Realpolitik, Capitalism, Wikileaks, and Nigeria

Jesus: Cables from Nigeria show how Ann Pickard, then Shell’s vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa, sought to share intelligence with the US government on militant activity and business competition in the contested Niger Delta – and how, with some prescience, she seemed reluctant to open up because of a suspicion the US government was “leaky”. But that did not prevent Pickard disclosing the company’s reach into the Nigerian government when she met US ambassador Robin Renee Sanders, as recorded in a confidential memo…

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Poverty in Africa is Falling…Fast

Poverty in Africa is Falling…Fast

According to a recent study by two economics professors, both poverty and level of inequality have fallen considerably since 1995: The picture of Africa as a place of collapse, hunger, disease and death is slowly fading. Both official statistics and the popular press acknowledge a nascent “African Renaissance”, as the continent is enjoying its longest and strongest growth spurt since independence. Nevertheless, it is still widely believed that this growth is primarily driven by oil and natural resource prices, and…

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The State of the Agriculture Sector in Ghana

The State of the Agriculture Sector in Ghana

Ghana is located on the West Coast of Africa, referred to as the Gold Coast due to its abundance of the precious metal.  It is the second-largest producer of cocoa, with about 15% of the world market.  Cocoa is dominated by Ghana’s next-door neighbor, Cote D’Ivoire, which has spent the last decade in disarray after a civil war and the ensuing post-war violence.  Despite the fact that agriculture accounts for about 40% of GDP and more than half the workforce,…

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The Structure of an Agriculture Industry

The Structure of an Agriculture Industry

I have been in Ghana now for one week, and think that it is time to give an update on what I am doing here.   I will be working on the ADVANCE project, which has the lofty goal of establishing an effective value chain in the agriculture industry.  It is a four-year, USD $30 million project with about 100 staff, including a mix of agronomists, business development people, rural finance specialists, and a handful of outside consultants providing support.  To…

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