Sierra Leone in the Cocoa Global Value Chain

The report uses the global value chain (GVC) framework to examine Sierra Leone’s position in the global industry to identify upgrading opportunities for the local industry. Recent trends in the global market have shown a rise in consumer preference for dark chocolate and ‘bean-to-bar’ products. Upgrading opportunities in these markets are identified for the country.

Analysis of Ghana’s Non-Traditional Agricultural Exports

Duke GVCC collaborated with the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Monitoring and Analyzing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) program and the International Trade Center (ITC) on this project that assessed competitive growth opportunities for selected non-traditional export products from Ghana. The product selection and research strategy followed a three-stage process that integrated quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches: i) comparative advantage and competitiveness analyses of Ghana’s agri-food exports; ii) ranking of comparative advantage of agri-food products; iii) product selection and GVC analysis of the mango sector, as the leading export product, for the identification of policy interventions and commercial alliances for action between value chain operators as well as support institutions.

The research identified productive capability gaps and areas where policy interventions and private alliances were essential to promote competitive growth of non-traditional exports from Ghana. Consensus on the intervention areas was facilitated through presentations of interim and final findings and recommendations in Accra, Ghana.

Industries without Smokestacks: Africa and Tourism GVCs

With tourism representing a very significant source of exports and foreign investment in Africa, the industry will continue to be a major economic engine moving forward. While there are opportunities, some characteristics of the global industry can impede Africa’s development if policy makers do not recognize and design strategies to alleviate many constraints for firms and other stakeholders. Chapter 4, Tourism Global Value Chains and Africa by Jack Daly and Gary Gereffi, explores the overall landscape of the tourism industry and how it influences Africa’s competitiveness.


Leveraging the global value chain (GVC) framework, the Duke GVC Center conducts industry-centric research on economic globalization that highlights linkages across geographic space. This has helped inform decision-making for stakeholders throughout the continent. Our work in Africa has looked at inclusive development, upgrading, and workforce development opportunities for a number of countries in a range of agro-food, light manufacturing, and service industries.

The following is a snapshot of our work on Africa:

– Reports: 16

– Publications: 9

– Geographies: 12 countries (Burundi, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco, Rwanda, Sierra Leone Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda)

– Clients: International Trade Center (ITC), Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank, International Growth Center (IGC), OECD, Oxfam, RTI International and USAID/ACDI-VOCA.


Tourism GVCs & Africa: Working Paper

As Africa continues to attract record numbers of international arrivals, there are industry undercurrents that influence the continent’s participation in tourism value chains. African tourism is characterized by high foreign demand, which elevates the position of global lead firms and increases leakages of tourism spending out of local economies. This paper identifies some of the variance that can be seen in different regions and countries across the continent, highlighting the policy interventions that can be implemented to increase efficiency and facilitate economic upgrading.

Primates and Beyond: Tourism Value Chains in East Africa

Tourism is an important economic driver in Africa. East African Community countries such as Kenya and Tanzania have long been popular safari destinations, with Rwanda and Uganda serving as stops as part of the “Gorilla Express”. As both countries look to diversify their appeal, value chain analysis can provide insight into how domestic businesses can connect with global actors to facilitate upgrading.

Maize Value Chains in East Africa

While the global industry is increasingly focused on ethanol production, maize in East Africa is an important food crop. With Kenya serving as significant processor, Ugandan—and Rwandan, to a lesser—producers can play a valuable role in the regional value chain.

Dairy Value Chains in East Africa

Although regional dairy trade in East Africa is far lower than the global average and only stands at below 1% of regional milk production, its recent rapid growth is promising. The way forward for dairy value chains in Rwanda and Uganda is contingent upon addressing the gap in ‘intangible’ capabilities.

Regional Value Chains in East Africa: Summary Report

Despite recent regional improvements in poverty reduction and economic growth rates in East Africa, firm productivity in the region remains low. This contrast creates uncertainty about whether the recent successes will persist without improvements in regional networks of production and trade. In partnership with the IGC, the Duke research team used the GVC framework to investigate the opportunities for and constraints to regional integration in three key sectors: dairy processing, maize production, and tourism.

Africa & Tourism Global Value Chains

The UNU-Wider project workshop on industries without smokestacks brought together researchers to discuss joint work on the industry sector and structural transformation in Africa. Researcher Jack Daly contributed to the workshop by presenting findings on tourism Global Value Chains in Africa.