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 majority of the world’s poor are subsistence farmers, though some focus on tourism, energy, and other sectors. The CEO, Bruce McNamer, explains Technoserve’s approach to economic development in a recent article from the McKinsey Quarterly:
There are significant possibilities in Africa to unlock value in different industry sectors, and these possibilities will grow over time. Success, however, will require the government and business to adopt a strategy based on an analytical and market-oriented approach, customized for the sector and focused on helping enterprises and people make money. While ultimately reliant on commercial incentives and viability, this strategy will probably require up-front, subsidized investments to seed the market, as well the coordination of stakeholders and interventions across the value chain.