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What Do I Think of Agriculture Development? Pt. 1

What Do I Think of Agriculture Development? Pt. 1

This is part one of a three-part post on agriculture economic development. After the better part of a year working for Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), a microfinance institution in the Philippines, I decided to head west again – specifically, to West Africa.  In late 2010, I moved to Ghana to work with TechnoServe, a non-profit specializing in market-driven solutions to economic development.  This is really just a fancy way of saying that TechnoServe recognizes the importance of competitive…

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Cote D’Ivoire and the “Big Man” in African Politics

Cote D’Ivoire and the “Big Man” in African Politics

The big news in West Africa (and the rest of the world) is the election crisis in Cote D’Ivoire, the next-door neighbor of Ghana. I have talked to a lot of people about what’s happening and have tried to learn as much as I can about the issue. Basically, Cote D’Ivoire recently held a presidential election. The incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, is a former history professor who took became president in 2000 in a contested election. Despite losing the most recent…

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Crisis in Cote D’Ivoire: How Political Instability Alters Trade Patterns

Crisis in Cote D’Ivoire: How Political Instability Alters Trade Patterns

The big news in this part of the world (West Africa) is the recent democratic election in Cote D’Ivoire, which saw the anointing of not one but two presidents.  The incumbent president, who has led the country for 10 years and is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term in office, is refusing to step down after a decisive 54-46 loss to Alassane Ouattara, an economist and technocrat who also happens to be both a Muslim and a leader of…

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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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A New Chapter: Working with Technoserve in Ghana

A New Chapter: Working with Technoserve in Ghana

In less than two weeks, I’ll be moving to Ghana to work as a consultant with an organization called Technoserve.  It is my first time to visit West Africa and am excited to learn about the region.  Technoserve works to strengthen the economies of the countries it serves by making the industries more efficient and profitable.  Founded in the 1970’s, Technoserve began in Sub-Saharan Africa and has since expanded to Latin America and India.  Most projects involve agriculture, since the…

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