Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The last few days I have been reading up on social entrepreneurship, specially within Liberian and West African women when I came across the World Economic Forum blog (http://forumblog.org/2012/05/africas-transformation-is-already-well-under-way/) on their recent conference on Africa.

1. UN Women Liberia has initiated a number of projects for women's economic empowerment especially in the agricultural sector. Below is an excerpt on their work on cassava (the staple food) production:

"In Liberia cassava is a staple food at the center of the food security chain. However, women are faced with significant challenges which constrain their productivity and their ability to earn substantial income from cassava production. These include a lack of appropriate processing equipment, transport to market, and farming tools and the inability to afford the necessary inputs for optimal production.

In Ganta (the largest city in Nimba County) and surrounding villages, 500 women are involved in the UN Women initiative to turn a small-scale women’s cassava production operation into an income-generating cassava production and processing enterprise. This is potentially a rich agricultural region with high productive capacity. However, at present the region is recovering from the civil conflict and operating at an unusually low level of economic output and crop productivity. New processing, marketing and management skills will be developed to establish profitable businesses measured through increased incomes, improved yields and expanded markets."

2. Liberty and Justice ( a non-profit based in Monrovia) launched Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified apparel factory via a small group of grassroots Liberian women to sell garments globally.

The question is: in a society whose critical issue is infrastructure, what kind of entrepreneurship will work? Can the following Harvard Business Review (HBR) matrix help to think this through?

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