Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO)

Photo: Cambodia market.

Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) was a USAID-funded contract (2013-2016) to support programming that fosters inclusive growth through markets. LEO's learning agenda focused on inclusion and a systems approach to markets, advancing research and practice in inclusive market development.

This report presents key activities, lessons learned, and accomplishments of the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) project. Over the course of three years (October 1, 2013 – November 13, 2016), LEO served as USAID’s primary vehicle for learning in the area of market systems approaches and a...
French language version: This assessment of investment opportunities in the maize and livestock (poultry, cattle, and small ruminants) value chains across four countries of West Africa was carried out from April to June of 2016 as an activity under the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO)...
Portuguese language version: The Southern Africa Assessment of Trade Opportunities and SPS Challenges within the maize, soya and groundnut value chains in Southern Africa took place from June to August 2016 as a task order under the USAID/Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) project. This study...
Labor is both an input to the value chain and a source of income for individuals, making it doubly important for market development projects seeking to facilitate economic growth with poverty reduction. As such, this labor market analysis guide is designed to enable market system practitioners and...
This paper describes a set of guidelines for improving monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) within the context of market systems development (MSD). These guidelines support the capacity of donors and their implementing partners to identify and address key MEL parameters and methodological...
Feed the Future (FTF) is facilitating changes in core agricultural systems that contributes to more sustainable and scalable development objectives. This report, commissioned by USAID/BFS, summarizes the findings from research into four FTF projects, selected as illustrations of observable systemic...
It is widely recognized that projects need practical, modular, easy-to-use tools to build staff capacity in effective market facilitation approaches. Working with EcoVentures International, the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) activity tested new methods for introducing development project...
The market systems development community has long grappled with how to best capture evidence of systemic change, which is why our next webinar aims to shed light on how to better understand some of the indications of systemic change. Watch and learn as our experts present and share the findings...
This report examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it—that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty—while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again, and yet others remain trapped in chronic poverty. In particular, the report investigates...
Poverty is a dynamic phenomenon; while some people remain in poverty for long periods of time, over the same period others escape poverty, others fall into poverty and yet others escape poverty and fall back into it. In other words, poverty reduction is not a one-way street. This brief draws on...
USAID has invested time and resources into two independently produced, but highly complementary, frameworks and associated approaches to increasing food security and alleviating poverty. These are the local systems framework and the inclusive market systems framework. This briefing paper does not...
This paper builds on a literature review on evaluating systems conducted under the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) activity, which found issues with the existing frameworks and indicators used for measuring systemic change. It presents a framework that outlines a pathway for systemic change...
This assessment of investment opportunities in the maize and livestock (poultry, cattle, and small ruminants) value chains across four countries of West Africa was carried out from April to June of 2016 as an activity under the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) project. This study is one of...
The Southern Africa Assessment of Trade Opportunities and SPS Challenges within the maize, soya and groundnut value chains in Southern Africa took place from June to August 2016 as a task order under the USAID/Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) project. This study involved field missions to...
USAID/Guinea and Sierra Leone contracted LEO to undertake an assessment and investment plan for an abattoir system in Guinea. The Government of Guinea initiated the construction of an abattoir and holding area outsider Conakry and urban butcher sites; then approached USAID for assistance...
This report aims to inform Feed the Future (FTF) efforts moving forward to more strategically and deliberately engage youth in market systems by providing insights from current FTF country programs. Commissioned by USAID’s Bureau for Food Security/Office of Country Strategy and Implementation, a...
The Synthesis: This report summarizes the results of a multi-year effort to understand the potential of a set of tools – Standard Measurement Tools, Outcome Harvesting, SenseMaker, and Social Network Analysis– to measure systemic change. Building from tool trials in four countries, plus experience...
This event featured learning from USAID's Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) activity's extensive market systems research and practice agenda with USAID. The resources posted on this page refer to the opening plenary portion of the event. OPENING PLENARY : Systems Approaches Gain Influence:...
The expectation that policy reforms that address policy constraints positively influence private sector investment is a fundamental link or assumption in many market systems development and policy reform efforts. Critically, private sector investment is typically the key mechanism by which policy...
Over the course of three years, the Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) activity conducted secondary and primary research on scaling impact through agricultural input and output markets. This research looked at successful approaches in scaling smallholders’ access to input and output markets...