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) activity.
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.
The recommendations included here are designed to be integrated as a component of a broader value chain analysis and adapted to specific contexts and research needs.
This paper describes a set of guidelines for improving monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) within the context of market systems development (MSD).
These case studies dig deeper into Feed the Future results reporting and identify, describe, and analyze strong case studies of FTF value chain programming significantly contributing to systemic change.
Working with EcoVentures International, LEO tested new methods for introducing development project staff to market systems development concepts and practices.
View post-event resources from the "What's All the Fuss About? How USAID is Embracing Systems Thinking With Supporting Frameworks and Tools" event.
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.
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 briefing paper provides an overview of the complementarities of the local systems framework and the inclusive market systems framework.
This report presents a framework that outlines a pathway for systemic change and presents a complementary set of indicator areas, or "domains," that signal systemic changes.
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.
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 report examines a LEO activity-led assessment and investment plan for an abattoir system in Guinea, which found the abattoir to be economically attractive for outside investment and a PPP tender.
This report aims to inform Feed the Future efforts moving forward to more strategically and deliberately engage youth in market systems by providing insights from current FTF country programs.
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.
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.
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 reform can achieve the development objectives (e.g., poverty reduction) of bilateral donors.
This research explores successful approaches in scaling smallholders’ access to input and output markets as well as ex-post assessments of two agricultural projects that used a market systems development approach in Cambodia and Zambia.
This review of literature reveals that there are many opportunities to increase women’s economic empowerment beyond interventions focused on production.
This report examines this issue through a review of market analyses and in-depth interviews with key staff from projects seeking to apply an market systems development approach.
These three posts comprise a suite of briefs on women's economic empowerment sponsored by the LEO activity.
This publication presents a collection of case studies and personal anecdotes that illustrate how Feed the Future programs are creating opportunities for women’s empowerment in agriculture.
The purpose of this note is to introduce a methodology for investigating the extent of impoverishment and transitory poverty escapes, as well as the factors that help protect against impoverishment and support sustained poverty escapes.
This brief summarizes existing knowledge and focuses on the issue of transitory escapes in particular as a unique and concerning sub-set of impoverishment.
This report combines analysis from four rounds of the ERHS with qualitative research approaches; in particular, key informant interviews, life histories, and participatory wealth ranking to further investigate the drivers of transitory poverty escapes.
The assessment includes analysis of: a) the current status of the aquaculture sector; potential markets linkages for Timorese aquaculture products; and the potential for domestic feed production.
View post-event resources for the Sept. 1 event, "Sustainable Poverty Escapes: What Resilience and Risk Factors Really Matter?"
Bangladesh has experienced substantial reductions in both extreme poverty and poverty. The proportion of the population living below the national extreme poverty line has reduced from 50 percent in 1991 to 18 percent in 2010 while the poverty headcount ratio, using the national poverty line, has reduced from 60 percent to 32 percent over the same period.
This brief paper describes an effort to build a set of basic and easily used tools for monitoring system dynamics or system health.
The overall assessment, conducted under a Political Economy Analysis (PEA) framework, set out to identify the major factors influencing Serbia’s private sector’s ability to grow, export and compete in EU and global markets.
This assessment seeks to identify the key factors constraining Serbia’s private MSME sector, and its ability to grow and compete, particularly in EU markets and against the companies and products of EU member states.
The more we learn about market systems and systemic change, the more we realize that describing these system dynamics is a major challenge. In addition, many tools for describing and monitoring shifts in system dynamics can be inadequate, as it is difficult to gain insight into network structures...
LEO is researching a diversity of models that implementing agencies are using to solve the issue of linking smallholders to input and output markets. The research focuses on the principles and conditions that made these models effective.
This report documents and provides an initial analysis of initiatives in Feed the Future projects designed to address policy related constraints to value chain competitiveness, and, in particular, increased private sector investment.
This brief considers what is meant by wage labor and why it matters for achieving USAID’s objectives of poverty alleviation and increased food security.
Combining analysis of UNPS data with qualitative approaches, this report examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again in the future.
The Intervention Guide for the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) provides guidance to donors and implementers of agricultural market development programs on how to translate into practice the evidence and insights gained from the WEAI survey results.