How can developing countries build financial systems that work for the majority and for the environment

Not much research is needed to prove that financial systems in most developing countries do not work for the majority of people and for the environment. To the extent that financial systems are fundamentally urban ecosystems, more than 60% of the populations that live in rural areas are not part of mainstream financial systems. Where[…]


What if policies are highly over-rated?

Policy makers in developing countries are often blamed for lacking the vision to craft appropriate agricultural policies that can guarantee food security and better standards of living for their people. While  good policies are considered magic bullets, there is no sufficient proof that countries that have developed their economies have done so through robust policies.[…]


Who will be future winners and losers in African Agriculture

While many African countries are competing to lure investors into their agriculture sector, a lot still needs to be done in order to clearly identify winners and losers. A formula for winning in African agriculture https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/our-insights/winning-in-africas-agricultural-market?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hlkid=d31b21d5ace243d3b2ce17001f2c9ca1&hctky=2883691&hdpid=235f0b4f-dc4a-4226-98ca-e6c36e7703cd is not yet revealing the extent to which smallholder farmers and other small value chain actors will benefit from[…]


How and why transacting is a small part of market linkages

Reducing market linkages to transactions is one of the major reasons why efforts to integrate smallholder farmers into value chains have failed to transform agriculture in developing countries. While the notion of market linkages is mostly associated with three to five year projects by development agencies, there is a new realization that linking farmers to[…]


How can developing countries valuate their fluid economies?

A major headache for many developing countries is developing criteria for valuating highly fluid and transitory economic activities that are now more prevalent. Employment creation in agricultural markets and informal business ecosystems is now a major domain for women and youth, most of whom are highly mobile. Economic actors in the trading business specialize on[…]


How climate change is inspiring intelligent experimentation at grassroots

During times of socio-economic stability, farmers and entrepreneurs can afford to rely on one commodity or value chain.  Not when climate change is announcing itself in unpredictable ways. That is why experimentation is no longer a preserve for schools and universities. Farming areas and markets are becoming laboratories for intelligent experimentation among farmers, consumers, traders,[…]


What if big organizations no longer have monopoly on knowledge?

Unprecedented disruption affecting the food retail sector across the globe is also spilling over into the knowledge industry. For some of the world’s biggest knowledge brokering organizations, gone are the days when a logo was enough to lure funding and command brand loyalty. For example, sources of agricultural and financial knowledge have become so diverse[…]


How can the predatory nature of development efforts be tamed?

Many rural communities in low income countries are fed up with the predatory nature of external development initiatives. According to the WordWeb dictionary, a predatory animal is one that lives by catching and preying on other animals. Predatory tendencies also include living by or victimizing others for personal gain. When development agencies move into rural[…]


Of premature technology and information overload

Hundreds of mobile applications and technology platforms are launched in Africa almost every day, thanks to the promise of digital-fueled progress. Unfortunately most of the platforms (including those owned by famous mobile network providers) are trotted onto the market prematurely before sufficient pre-testing. There is also confusion between a platform, a portal, a Whatsapp group[…]


Two hopes for African Agriculture and rural development in 2019

The fact that countries which have moved toward middle-income status have started by transforming their agriculture sector is no longer debatable. Unfortunately, out of 54 countries in Africa, Ethiopia is mentioned as the only one on the path to meaningful agricultural transformation. The rest are still running from pillar to post, chasing different prescriptions. During[…]