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Browse recent blogs of interest to the Marketlinks community. Use the search box or the filters on the left-hand side to refine the listing of blogs by keyword, topic, and/or region/country.

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How a Cacao Resurgence is Revitalizing Degraded Land and the Agricultural Economy in El Salvador

Author(s):

Catholic Relief Services
Is it possible to reintroduce a crop with a compelling global value in a nation with substantial land degradation and little institutional crop memory? Yes, it’s possible. But only with a strategic approach to market systems development (MSD). With local partners CLUSA El Salvador, Acugolfo and Caritas, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been working since 2014 to resuscitate El Salvador’s cacao sector through the Alianza Cacao project. Alianza Cacao aims to turn El Salvador into a key exporter and place of origin for high-quality, aromatic, fine-flavor cacao by stimulating production of an estimated 4,500 metric tons of Salvadoran cacao worth approximately $20,000,000 over the life of the project.

How to Advance Women’s Economic Security Using Insights from Behavioral Science

Author(s):

Laura Van Berkel
The United States Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security (2023) envisions a world in which women and girls in all their diversity are equally able to contribute to and benefit from economic growth and development. U.S. Department of State (2023). United States Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security. https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/U.S.-Strategy-on-Global-Womens-Economic-Security.pdfThis includes equal access to quality education, better jobs and decent work.

How USAID, Local Government, and the Private Sector Mitigated AI Gender Bias in One of Mexico’s Leading Education Pilots

Author(s):

Alexander Riabov
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to search, sort, and analyze data has become increasingly common among governments looking to improve the delivery of financial, health, and education services to their citizens. In the case of the Secretariat of Education of the State of Guanajuato (SEG) in Mexico, a digital approach was particularly urgent as the community continues to grapple with increasing student drop-out rates — over 40,000 students every year.

Trade and Gender Equality: Insights from Honduras

Author(s):

Bama Athreya
In early June, I had the opportunity to see how the United States has used trade to advance gender equality while on an interagency delegation with senior officials from the Department of State, Department of Labor, and U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR).

Why the Government and the Private Sector Must Work Together to Expand Access to Digital Financial Services in Guatemala

Author(s):

Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are revolutionizing access to banking services and empowering millions of previously unbanked individuals. According to the latest data from the World Bank Findex, 73 percent of people in the region (excluding high-income countries) own a financial account—and the proliferation of digital financial services and financial technology (fintech) played an essential role in this growth.

Reducing the Opportunity Cost of Lending in Northern Kenya

Author(s):

ACDI VOCA
Northern Kenya has significant opportunities for economic development, and access to finance is a key driver for the region’s sustainable growth. Unfortunately, the region is also burdened with negative perceptions, as Kenyan financial institutions deem it risky compared to other more economically developed parts of the country. Further, most plentiful and impactful Northern Kenyan investments are at the micro, small- and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) level.

Building a Local Food Safety Culture through Business-Led Solutions

Author(s):

Food Enterprise Solutions (FES)
Why food safety? In a world plagued by persistent hunger, undernourishment and malnutrition, food safety plays a key role in addressing such issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that unsafe food causes 600 million cases (nearly 1 in 10 people) of foodborne diseases and 420,000 deaths annually. Most of the global burden of foodborne disease falls on those living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), comprising 75 percent of deaths from foodborne illness, despite comprising only 41 percent of the global population.

Supporting youth livelihoods in Honduras: Advancing technology for well-being

Author(s):

Corus International
With more than half of Hondurans younger than 25 and the majority of the population living below the poverty line, young people need access to employment opportunities. Yet, too many Honduran young women and men face dismal economic prospects with 27 percent of youth not in education, employment or training. Compounded by the impacts of climate change and food insecurity, those who cannot find jobs are at risk of falling further into poverty or migrating elsewhere in search of opportunities.

The Voices of Women Who Make Your Clothes: Spotlight on Vietnam

Author(s):

Swasti Gautam
Women make up around 80% of the workforce in the garment industry and are the most important voices in the fashion industry today. However, their voices often go unheard. This blog dives into the achievements of and learnings of The Worker Wellbeing project in Vietnam which aims to improve well-being and dignified conditions for female factory workers.

Strengthening capacity of smallholder farmers: The Food Safety First Costing Tool

Author(s):

Corus International
To foster consumer demand and food safety confidence in food supply chains, numerous international trade organizations now require sanitary and phytosanitary systems (SPS) to be maintained at the highest standards. Smallholder farmers, farmer organizations, buyers and governments of low and middle-income countries are expected to meet these phytosanitary standards or risk export shipment rejections. With a growing need to have safe, quality food, it is critical to adhere to food safety standards of buyers and regulatory bodies.

The Role of Business-Led Food Safety in Sustainable Food Systems

Author(s):

Food Enterprise Solutions (FES)
The Linkage Between Food Safety and Sustainability Food loss and waste pose a major threat to both global food system security and sustainability. Postharvest loss is both nutrient and resource loss. When food is wasted, so are the resources required to produce it, namely land, water, and energy. In Africa, with the world’s highest rates of hunger and malnutrition, about a third of all food produced is lost before it ever reaches consumers.
USAID Official

New Trade Rules and Transparency: How Implementing Good Regulatory Practices (GRPs) Supports Anti-Corruption Programing

Author(s):

Bryan O'Byrne
Corruption is increasingly seen as the very “operating system” of many developing country governments, and is connected to sophisticated networks that cross sectoral and national boundaries in their drive to maximize returns for their members. Indeed, independent studies suggest that corruption is woven into the fabric of governing institutions due to kleptocrats’ ability to co-opt or disable independent authorities, promote willful blindness, competing incentives, or inattention.

Three Tips for Disrupting Agricultural Supply Chains

Author(s):

Tessa Martin,
Hortence Baho
“Blame it on the supply chain,” has become somewhat of a mantra around the globe. Consumers are increasingly frustrated by grocery store shortages. Meanwhile, producers are struggling to get ahold of important inputs to keep their businesses afloat. For farmers and agro-dealers, the implications of shaky supply chains can have rippling repercussions for the food on our shelves.

Bridging the Gender Digital Divide: Four Approaches to Bringing Women Online From the USAID/Microsoft Airband Initiative

Author(s):

Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub
Globally, women are 18 percent less likely than men to own a smartphone. This statistic illustrates— particularly in low-income, rural households— the ‘gender digital divide’ where women are less likely to be connected to the Internet and have access to important tools that could improve their lives.

A digital solution to strengthen the solid waste management market promoted during National waste conference in Angola

Waste management is a significant problem globally due to its impact on human health and the environment. However, in developing countries the situation becomes more acute due to the cultural and economic need for proper urbanization in the peripheral belt of the cities. Thus, waste management is a social, economic, and environmental problem facing all African countries. EU Africa RISE supports several initiatives to manage waste sustainably. One of them is a digital app solution that will be piloted in Angola with National Waste Agency (NWA).

Implementation of circular economy regulations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through a platform

The European Commission through EU Africa RISE, SADC Business Council, and Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) jointly organised a conference on the ‘Implementation of circular economy regulations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’ on 22 and 23 February 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia. The conference aimed to mobilise regional business, government, and civil society leaders to come together around the development of a circular economy, waste management, and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) topics on a formalised platform.

Peer to Peer Learning on Public-Private Dialogue

Mauritius, a small island nation located in the Indian Ocean, is known for its economic and social stability. The country's success is due, in part, to its long history of public-private dialogue, which was recently the focus of a Peer-to-Peer Learning Workshop organized by the EU regional technical assistance facility Africa RISE and the Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence (RMCE).