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

Can Public-Private Partnerships Actually Benefit the Poor?

Jan 29, 2015
institutional sponsor: 
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)


Contextual changes characterized by the globalization of agricultural value chains not only influence patterns of production, competition, and trade; they also offer potential for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to achieve development objectives. These PPPs often result in economic growth. However, they have not always brought about significant and sustained benefits for the poor.

Drawing on the concepts of global value chains, representatives from Duke University’s Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC) examined evidence contributing to three main debates surrounding the potential of PPPs to truly bring about inclusive development:  

  • The alignment of business and pro-poor development interests;
  • The actors and institutions that determine how the system works; and, 
  • The outcomes that can be achieved.

This panel presented research findings on USAID-supported partnerships and upgrading trajectories experienced in the cocoa sector in Indonesia, the coffee sector in Rwanda, and the horticulture sector in Kenya. This research examines what historical PPPs can teach us about how to use this approach to actually benefit the poor.  

Please note that this seminar was held at a new location: Washington Room in the City Club of Washington. Please use the entrance on 13th Street, beside Warner Theatre. Once inside, look for the spiral staircase in the atrium. City Club is located at the bottom of the stairs. Elevators are also available in the atrium.


Gary Gereffi
Gary Gereffi
Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness

Gary GereffiGary Gereffi is Professor of Sociology and Director of the

Gary GereffiCGGC at Duke University. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. from Yale University. Gereffi has published numerous books and articles, including: Brazilian Industry in Global Value Chains (Portuguese and English) (Elsevier, 2014); Shifting End Markets and Upgrading Prospects in Global Value Chains (special issue of the International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2011); Global Value Chains in a Postcrisis World: A Development Perspective (The World Bank, 2010); and The New Offshoring of Jobs and Global Development (International Institute of Labor Studies, 2006). He has recently completed a three-year project on economic and social upgrading in global value chains, financed by the UK Department for International Development, and he is currently working on global value chains in emerging economies and new methodologies for measuring value chain upgrading.

Ajmal Abdulsamad
Ajmal Abdulsamad
Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness

Ajmal AbdulsamadAjmal Abdulsamad is a researcher at the CGGC, Duk

Ajmal Abdulsamade University. He received his M.A. in International Development Policy from Duke University and has over 13 years of experience working for international development organizations and the United Nations. As a development practitioner in Afghanistan, he has led multidisciplinary teams in the formulation and implementation of several projects, including advice and capacity-building support to stakeholders ranging from community development councils at the village level to high-level government officials at ministries of the Afghan Government. His recent research work at CGGC includes: “Realizing the Potential of African Agriculture: Innovations Across Agricultural Value Chains,” implemented in partnership with Oxfam America; “Burundi in the Agribusiness Value Chains: Skills for Private Sector Development,” sponsored by the World Bank; and “Private Sector Engagement as a Poverty-Reduction Strategy,” funded by USAID.

Shawn Stokes
Shawn Stokes
Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness

Shawn StokesShawn Stokes has over ten years of experience in research,

Shawn Stokesevaluation, and project management. Since 2009, he has worked as a research analyst with the CGGC at Duke University, where he applies the global value chain framework to a wide array of topics ranging from sustainable fisheries to wetlands restoration and ecosystem services.

Shawn received his B.S. in International Business from the College of Charleston, and his Master's in International Development Policy from Duke University. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, he promoted small business development of value-added products made from organic coffee. He has written several policy papers, including an analysis of youth gang violence in Panama for USAID’s Alcance Positivo program. Much of his recent work has focused on inefficiencies in food and agricultural value chains, including those of Mexican wild caught shrimp, Brazilian beef, Iowa corn, and Louisiana oysters.