PEN American Center

Writers  Workshop Pictures:

UAE Migrant Labor

In a front page article of the NY Times, NYU  gets some negative press related to the treatment of construction workers building its new campus on Saadiyat Island. My view is that the article was a bit harsh on NYU and got some facts wrong. The official NYU response is here. There have been reforms in the labor system in the UAE.  The "Notice of Consent" clause tying a worker to one particular job  has been removed. Indeed, in a recent joint technical paper with two co-authors we measure the impact of this reform - a good thing for workers. Click here for the policy brief summary and here for the full technical paper. Nevertheless abuse still persists in the labor system, a fact which the regulators acknowledge.  However, to say there has been no progress is wrong. I think the presence of institutions such as NYU in the region help move the reform process forward. Prof. Yaw Nyarko

Rural Tourism & Greening as Drivers for Economic Transformation: the Leveraging Role of Technology

NYU Africa House and the Center for Technology & Economic Development are proud to co-present this special collaborative forum convening local leaders, practitioners, academics and community stakeholders for the launch of the inaugural edition of the Africa Tourism Monitor 2013 Report in Afram Plains of Ghana on January 22nd 2014. The report is a joint publication of New York University-Africa House, the Africa Travel Association (ATA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The event titled Rural Tourism & Greening as Drivers for Economic Transformation: the Leveraging Role of Technology will take the format of a town hall gathering convening a cross section of stakeholders and community leaders in Kumawu, located in the Sekyere Afram Plains District. Part of the decision to launch the report in this region is to draw emphasis on the unique potential for economic empowerment via the tourism sector and also highlight the array of tourism assets in the region such as the Bomfobiri Widlife Sanctuary which is managed by the Ghana Forestry Commission. Date: Wednesday January 22nd Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm – Forum 12:00pm – 1:00pm – Luncheon Networking Reception (Complimentary Food and Refreshments Provided) Location: Tweneboa Kodua Senior High School, Kumawu, Sekyere Afram Plains District, Ashanti Region  

EVENT SCHEDULE

Rural Tourism and Greening as Drivers for Economic Transformation: The Leveraging role of Technology Tweneboa Kodua Senior High School, Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains District, Ashanti Region

Wednesday January 22, 2014 

10:00am                                         Welcome and invitation of priest for opening prayer-Mr. Nantwi, Principal, Twenboa Kodua Senior High School, 10:05am                                         Opening prayer- Father Abban 10:10am                                         Official opening and Introduction of Prof Nyarko– Mr. Nantwi 10:15 am                                         Acknowledgement of special guests – MC Hon. Philip Basoah-MP Kumawu (Special guest of honour) Hon. Samuel Asiamah-DCE (Chairperson) Hon. Fuseni Donkor (DCE- Sekyere Afram plaines) The local chiefs (Sanaahene and Samaahene) Mr. Ekow Sampson- Ghana Tourism Authority-Regional director, Ashanti Region CTED Advisory Council (Baba Amadu, Yaw Busia, Robert Danso Boakye and Kofi Blankson) Mr. Charles Abeka Haizel (Regional director for Wildlife division-   Forestry Commission) Mr. Joseph Binlinla – Manager Bomfobiri Wildfire Santuary Dr Adu Bredu- Deputy Director, Forestry Research Institute Mr. Kwadwo  Sarpong Dr. James London Mr. Shalom Danso, Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) Mr. Kofi Yankson- Building and Roads Research Institute (BRRI) Mr. Nantwi – Headmaster of TKSHS Teachers of TKSHS Local Assemblymen 10:20am                                          Order of speech (Introduced by MC) Prof. Yaw Nyarko, NYU Dept of Economics, Director CTED & Africa House – Special address and launch of the  Africa Tourism Monitor Report 2013 Hon. Philip Basoah-MP-Introduces the DCE and local leaders Hon. Samuel Asiamah-DCE (Chairperson) 10:35 am                                          Keynote address- Baba Amadu 11:00am                                          Ekow Sampson-Ashanti Regional Director- Ghana Tourism Authority Charles Abeka Haizel – Regional director, Wildlife Division; Forestery Commission Joseph Binlinla- Manager, Bomforbiri wildlife sanctuary 11:40am                                           Open Forum & Discussion 12:00pm                                          Networking Reception/Lunch

President Jacob Zuma, Republic of South Africa

President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa participated in a public lecture where he spoke about contemporary political and and economic issues in South Africa. President Zuma also spoke in general about the role and functionality of government on the African continent. The event was then followed by a dinner reception for VIP guests at the NYU Kimmel Center in honor of  President Zuma.

Former President Rawlings at NYU

Former President of Ghana
His Excellency, the Former President of Ghana, Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings (Ret.) and his wife, the Former First Lady of Ghana, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings were the guest speakers at two Africa House events held recently at NYU. The former president spoke on the topic "Mobilizing African People for Economic Development." He stressed that the people are the number one resource for development of every nation or continent and that democracy should be at the center of efforts to mobilize African people for economic development. His presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session during which Mr. Rawlings engaged animatedly with the audience and tried to answer every question he was asked. The lecture was preceded by a cocktail reception and followed by a dinner for the former president and some special guests. Mrs. Rawlings spoke on the topic "Mobilizing Women for Economic Development." She acknowledged that the struggle for equality for women has been a long and arduous one. She addressed poverty, trade and economic issues as factors that influence the state of women's rights. She urged African leaders to do more than pay lip service to gender equality but to work to ensure that women are empowered at all levels and in all spheres of society. Her presentation was followed by a wine and cheese reception. For a transcript of Mr. Rawlings speech, click here. For a transcript of Mrs. Rawlings speech, click here. Photographs of the Events N. Borowick | Stanly Lumax

CTED Town Hall on Pineapple Cultivation in the Afram Plains

[satellite gallery=35 auto=on caption=off thumbs=on] On March 10th CTED hosted a Town Hall that featured a hands-on training session for small holder farmers in the Afram Plains co-presented by our CTED partner Mr. Kwadwo Sarpong, Director of the Kumawu office of the Ghana Ministry of Agriculture (MoFA). The topic for the training was best practices in pineapple cultivation.  The hands-on tutorial which took place at an area farm was conducted by Mr. Emmanuel Owusu Oduro. Its purpose was to introduce some of the best practices in pineapple cultivation to farmers in the area and to provide them with the opportunity to engage in open dialogue and knowledge exchange among their peers as well as with (MoFA) agricultural extension officers. Mr. Sarpong has been an invaluable partner to the CTED research team led by Prof. Yaw Nyarko. The strong linkages between his office and the local farmers in Kumawu and the surrounding villages has provided CTED with unparalleled access to farmers through our regularly convened town halls, and our ongoing research activities. The CTED Town Halls in the Afram Plains provide local farmers, traders, civic representatives and ministry experts with a platform to share best practices, brainstorm solutions to farming and market challenges, and offer practical training opportunities through MoFA and CTED teams. Additionally, CTED has been working with farmers in the Afram Plains on our mobile Market App. Farmers in rural Africa often lack important geographical and agricultural information about their land. Sometimes they do not even know the boundaries of their own property. CTED built a GIS agricultural mapping system that allows farmers to precisely map the boundaries of their land and food transportation routes. CTED is also studying the technology and economics of Market Information Systems, and is working with Esoko, a company that uses mobile phone technology to send price alerts to the farmers so that they are better able to negotiate with traders and build better lives for themselves. CTED’s project focuses both on the impact of this technology and on developing ways to enhance it to help smallholder farmers in rural Ghana. We have also hosted other Town Hall events on The Best Practices in Yam Cultivation, a well attended forum on Tourism & Greening for Rural Economic Transformation among several others.  We plan to continue to engage farming communities in constructive conversations that lead to new peer-to-peer insights and the dissemination of local knowledge and expertise between farmers.

CTED 2014 Annual Meeting

[satellite gallery=32 auto=on caption=off thumbs=on]
New York University’s Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED) held its Fourth Annual Meeting on February 25, 2014 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The aim of this year’s event was to highlight the possibilities for innovative technologies to contribute to emerging regions' economic development, within the context of CTED’s five main research areas: Finance, Education, Energy, Agriculture and Health. The event also showcased CTED’s ongoing research and collaborative efforts in the UAE, Pakistan, India, Ghana, Ethiopia and the USA. The meeting's interdisciplinary programme brought together scholars, practitioners and distinguished guests and friends of CTED. A number of our esteemed Advisory Council members were able to join us as well, including: Dr. Zarrouk, Chief Economist at the Islamic Development Bank; Sudhir Shetty, Chief Operating Officer of Global Operations at the UAE Exchange; and Tim Gollin, Managing Director at One Equity Partners LLC. The programme included presentations by Dr. Yaw Nyarko, Tiffany Tong, Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramanian, Nicole Hildebrandt, and Sunandan Chakraborty on topics including:

  • The Economics of the Food Crop Network in a Small Developing Nation (Ghana)
  • Experience of Designing a Mobile GIS Mapping Tool for Rural Farmers in Ghana
  • Fine-grained Dengue Surveillance with Citizen-Driven Data in Lahore, Pakistan
  • Summarization Search: A New Search Abstraction for Mobile Devices
  • Information is Power? Impact of SMS-based Market Information System on Farmers in Ghana

Africa House will conduct research on Ethiopia Commodity Exchange

With the objective of increasing knowledge on commodities markets and promoting cutting edge technologies for economic development, Africa House and our partner organizations, the Development Research Institute (DRI) and the Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED), have established an agreement with the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) to conduct a rigorous research agenda to evaluate ECX. Professors and PhD students from the Departments of Economics, Mathematics, and Computer Science at NYU and NYU-Abu Dhabi will analyze the impact of ECX in the Ethiopian economy, assess its institutional design and technology systems, and measure the performance of the market. Mr. Bemnet Aschenaki, Chief Strategy Officer of ECX, and Prof. Yaw Nyarko, Director of Africa House and CTED and Co-Director of DRI, presented the objectives and scope of the partnership in a press conference at ECX offices in Addis Ababa. Mr. Aschenaki expressed the need of an independent evaluation of the exchange in order to understand its current value, identify the areas of improvement, and shape the future of the exchange. Prof. Nyarko remarked that the transfer of knowledge and local capacity building are key components of the agreement. Established in 2008, ECX was conceived as a set of mechanisms and rules designed to address issues that limit the development of the agricultural sector, such as high transaction costs, information asymmetries, coordination failures, lack of contract enforcement, among others. The research team will study the performance of the exchange vis-à-vis its initial objectives by generating theoretical and empirical research outputs. The analysis of the Ethiopian experience will provide tools for other Sub-Saharan African countries to consider the development of commodity exchanges. The research topics are organized into three broad categories:

  • Impact on the welfare of different stakeholders, in particular small-scale producers
  • Intermediation and institutional design
  • Technology and diffusion of information
[embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUkpr7lZZaY[/embed]

A Talk With Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse

IMG_0478Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse (IFRPI, Ethiopia) at NYU Africa House My good friend and colleague gave a great talk the other day.  It was on aspirations.  His basic argument is that there is something called “aspirations” that people have in their heads.  Their work effort depends upon the level of these aspirations.  The aspirations can be changed by providing information.  His work involves showing Ethiopian farmers TV programs – some positive, some placebo.  Those with the positive images had higher levels of aspirations. His paper/slides can be found here. I think that this work is great.  I prefer interpreting the work as one involving models of learning. You learn what is possible by getting information (including TV programs).  If you are a villager you may learn, for example, that it is actually not impossible for a villager to get a loan from a bank – this will help you aspire to better things. I am doing work with Alemayehu on our Ethiopia Coffee Commodities Markets project.  Great guy – more information about his work can be found here. He has also sent over some of his more philosophical writing – focus on the “people perspective”. Click here for his essay – Enjoy! Y. Nyarko About The International Food Policy Research Institute IFPRI is an international agricultural research center founded in the early 1970s to improve the understanding of national agricultural and food policies to promote the adoption of innovations in agricultural technology. Additionally, IFPRI was meant to shed more light on the role of agricultural and rural development in the broader development pathway of a country The mission of IFPRI is to seek sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty through research. IFPRI carries out food policy research and disseminates it through hundreds of publications, bulletins, conferences, and other initiatives. IFPRI was organized as a District of Columbia non-profit, non-stock corporation on March 5, 1975 and its first research bulletin was produced in February 1976. IFPRI has offices in several developing countries, including China, Ethiopia, and India, and has research staff working in many more countries around the world. Most of the research takes place in developing countries in Central America, South America, Africa, and Asia. IFPRI is part of a network of international research institutes funded in part by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which in turn is funded by governments, private businesses and foundations, and the World Bank

A Conversation with Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin: Setting up a Commodity Exchange and Doing Business in Africa

A Conversation with Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin: Setting up a Commodity Exchange and Doing Business in Africa April 25th, 2012 Grand Hall, NYU Global Center, 238 Thompson Street 5:30 - 7:30 PM Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin shared and discussed with the audience her experience setting up the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange and the current trends in doing business in Africa. The first of its kind, the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange is a national multi-commodity exchange that provides low-cost, secure marketplace services to benefit all agricultural market stakeholders and invites industry professionals to seek membership enabling them to participate in trading. Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. As described by The Economist, she is an internationally recognized thought leader on agricultural marketing in Africa and global development, with prior roles as Senior Economist at the World Bank and Senior Research Fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, as well as UNCTAD in Geneva. She is among The Africa Report's "50 Women Shaping Africa" 2011, named Ethiopian Person of the Year 2010, and nominated Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year 2010 by African Business. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwNmhV1xy38[/embed] Click here to view Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin's publication (March 2012) Click here to watch Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin's talk on TED (June 2007)

Web Perspectives from African WritersAs part of  PEN World Voices Festival 2013

Africa House Presents:  African Literature on the Mews
Friday, May 3rd, 2013

To RSVP for all events click here

NOTE: Due to the high demand for the program: Perspectives from African Writers Panel at 5:00pm  all available seats for this session have been reserved. Any additional RSVPs will be accommodated based on availabilty of seating at check-in. Any available seats will be released approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the program

10:00am – 11:30am Writers Workshop: “Not by the book: one writer’s answers to questions most writers ask.” By Igoni Barrett, Nigeria 
Location: NYU Africa House:  14A Washington Mews, New York NY 10003

2:00pm – 3:00pm African Musical Workshop
Zimbabwe to Haiti: the Soul of Shona Mbira Music
By Tiga-Jean Baptiste
Location: NYU Africa House  14A Washington Mews, New York, NY 10003


5:00pm – 6:30 pm 
Perspectives from African Writers:
Who’s the main audience of the African       writer and what effect does this audience have on African literature?” A panel  discussion. Featuring: Igoni Barrett, Mukoma Wa Ngugi, NoViolet Bulawayo  & Olufemi Terry.
Location: NYU Africa House: 14 A Washington Mews, New York, NY  

6:30pm  – 7:30pm Post Panel Reception – @ 44 Washington Mews – NYU Africa House

To RSVP click here

Moderator: Eddie Mandhry
Associate Director, NYU Africa House

About the Authors:
A. Igoni Barrett
Igoni Barrett is a winner of the 2005 BBC World Service short story competition, the recipient of a Chinua Achebe Center Fellowship, a Norman Mailer Center Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency. He lives in Nigeria.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi
Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of Nairobi Heat (Penguin, SA 2009, Melville House Publishing, 2011), an anthology of poetry titled Hurling Words at Consciousness(AWP, 2006) and the forthcoming Finding Sahara (Melville, 2013).  He was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2009 and for the Penguin Prize for African Writing in 2010.  He has a PHD in English from UW-Madison and an MA in creative writing from Boston University.

Olufemi Terry
Olufemi Terry has recently written about Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kony2012, and Cape Verde.  His essays and fiction have been published in the American Scholar, Guernica and Chimurenga and he has been writer in Residence at Georgetown and Cove Park, U.K. His short story Stickfighting Days won the Caine Prize for African writing in 2010.

NoViolet Bulawayo
NoViolet Bulawayo is the author of We Need New Names, forthcoming in May 2013 from Little, Brown. Her stories have won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing and shortlisted for the J.M. Coetzee – judged 2009 SA PEN Studzinsi Award. NoViolet earned her MFA at Cornell University where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship, and most recently, a lecturer of English. She is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

Web NYU Africa House Tiga Jean-BaptisteMusical Workshop – Zimbabwe to Haiti: the Soul of Shona Mbira Music
To RSVPs click here

Tiga Jean-Baptiste is a multi-talented and accomplished young Haitian musician. Born into a family deeply rooted in traditional Afro-Haitian music, Tiga is continuing his family legacy, while embracing music of other lands. Tiga began drumming beside his father Bonga, a master of the Haitian drum. He accompanied Bonga throughout the Haitian countryside, learning many different regional drumming styles. While in his early teens, Tiga studied jazz with renowned Haitian jazz saxophonist Thurgot Theodat from whom he quickly learned circular breathing technique that enhanced his skills on Haitian bamboo, tin horns (called vaksinn koné), didjeridoo. Within a few short years of picking up the Shona Mbira, Tiga exhibited such skill and mastery he caught the attention of Zimbabwe’s greatest exponents the Shona mbira, Thomas Mapfumo and Stella Chiweshe with whom he performed and trained respectively. He has already established himself as an illustrious sideman and session musicians. To date Tiga has performed with Grace Jones, Urban Tap, Emeline Michele, John Legend, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Mozayik and Buyu Ambroise in addition to his core membership in Bonga & the Vodou Drums of Haiti. In 2000, he was invited to Japan with the Tet Kale Orchestra. Tiga is a teaching artist with the non-profit organization Global Kids and he been a featured accompanist with Wyclef Jean, Pat Hall Dance, Urban Tap and Jean-Leon Destine.

Free & Open to the Public

Musical  Workshop Pictures:

UAE Migrant Labor

In a front page article of the NY Times, NYU  gets some negative press related to the treatment of construction workers building its new campus on Saadiyat Island. My view is that the article was a bit harsh on NYU and got some facts wrong. The official NYU response is here. There have been reforms in the labor system in the UAE.  The "Notice of Consent" clause tying a worker to one particular job  has been removed. Indeed, in a recent joint technical paper with two co-authors we measure the impact of this reform - a good thing for workers. Click here for the policy brief summary and here for the full technical paper. Nevertheless abuse still persists in the labor system, a fact which the regulators acknowledge.  However, to say there has been no progress is wrong. I think the presence of institutions such as NYU in the region help move the reform process forward. Prof. Yaw Nyarko

Rural Tourism & Greening as Drivers for Economic Transformation: the Leveraging Role of Technology

NYU Africa House and the Center for Technology & Economic Development are proud to co-present this special collaborative forum convening local leaders, practitioners, academics and community stakeholders for the launch of the inaugural edition of the Africa Tourism Monitor 2013 Report in Afram Plains of Ghana on January 22nd 2014. The report is a joint publication of New York University-Africa House, the Africa Travel Association (ATA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The event titled Rural Tourism & Greening as Drivers for Economic Transformation: the Leveraging Role of Technology will take the format of a town hall gathering convening a cross section of stakeholders and community leaders in Kumawu, located in the Sekyere Afram Plains District. Part of the decision to launch the report in this region is to draw emphasis on the unique potential for economic empowerment via the tourism sector and also highlight the array of tourism assets in the region such as the Bomfobiri Widlife Sanctuary which is managed by the Ghana Forestry Commission. Date: Wednesday January 22nd Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm – Forum 12:00pm – 1:00pm – Luncheon Networking Reception (Complimentary Food and Refreshments Provided) Location: Tweneboa Kodua Senior High School, Kumawu, Sekyere Afram Plains District, Ashanti Region  

EVENT SCHEDULE

Rural Tourism and Greening as Drivers for Economic Transformation: The Leveraging role of Technology Tweneboa Kodua Senior High School, Kumawu Sekyere Afram Plains District, Ashanti Region

Wednesday January 22, 2014 

10:00am                                         Welcome and invitation of priest for opening prayer-Mr. Nantwi, Principal, Twenboa Kodua Senior High School, 10:05am                                         Opening prayer- Father Abban 10:10am                                         Official opening and Introduction of Prof Nyarko– Mr. Nantwi 10:15 am                                         Acknowledgement of special guests – MC Hon. Philip Basoah-MP Kumawu (Special guest of honour) Hon. Samuel Asiamah-DCE (Chairperson) Hon. Fuseni Donkor (DCE- Sekyere Afram plaines) The local chiefs (Sanaahene and Samaahene) Mr. Ekow Sampson- Ghana Tourism Authority-Regional director, Ashanti Region CTED Advisory Council (Baba Amadu, Yaw Busia, Robert Danso Boakye and Kofi Blankson) Mr. Charles Abeka Haizel (Regional director for Wildlife division-   Forestry Commission) Mr. Joseph Binlinla – Manager Bomfobiri Wildfire Santuary Dr Adu Bredu- Deputy Director, Forestry Research Institute Mr. Kwadwo  Sarpong Dr. James London Mr. Shalom Danso, Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) Mr. Kofi Yankson- Building and Roads Research Institute (BRRI) Mr. Nantwi – Headmaster of TKSHS Teachers of TKSHS Local Assemblymen 10:20am                                          Order of speech (Introduced by MC) Prof. Yaw Nyarko, NYU Dept of Economics, Director CTED & Africa House – Special address and launch of the  Africa Tourism Monitor Report 2013 Hon. Philip Basoah-MP-Introduces the DCE and local leaders Hon. Samuel Asiamah-DCE (Chairperson) 10:35 am                                          Keynote address- Baba Amadu 11:00am                                          Ekow Sampson-Ashanti Regional Director- Ghana Tourism Authority Charles Abeka Haizel – Regional director, Wildlife Division; Forestery Commission Joseph Binlinla- Manager, Bomforbiri wildlife sanctuary 11:40am                                           Open Forum & Discussion 12:00pm                                          Networking Reception/Lunch

President Jacob Zuma, Republic of South Africa

President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa participated in a public lecture where he spoke about contemporary political and and economic issues in South Africa. President Zuma also spoke in general about the role and functionality of government on the African continent. The event was then followed by a dinner reception for VIP guests at the NYU Kimmel Center in honor of  President Zuma.

Former President Rawlings at NYU

Former President of Ghana
His Excellency, the Former President of Ghana, Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings (Ret.) and his wife, the Former First Lady of Ghana, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings were the guest speakers at two Africa House events held recently at NYU. The former president spoke on the topic "Mobilizing African People for Economic Development." He stressed that the people are the number one resource for development of every nation or continent and that democracy should be at the center of efforts to mobilize African people for economic development. His presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session during which Mr. Rawlings engaged animatedly with the audience and tried to answer every question he was asked. The lecture was preceded by a cocktail reception and followed by a dinner for the former president and some special guests. Mrs. Rawlings spoke on the topic "Mobilizing Women for Economic Development." She acknowledged that the struggle for equality for women has been a long and arduous one. She addressed poverty, trade and economic issues as factors that influence the state of women's rights. She urged African leaders to do more than pay lip service to gender equality but to work to ensure that women are empowered at all levels and in all spheres of society. Her presentation was followed by a wine and cheese reception. For a transcript of Mr. Rawlings speech, click here. For a transcript of Mrs. Rawlings speech, click here. Photographs of the Events N. Borowick | Stanly Lumax

CTED Town Hall on Pineapple Cultivation in the Afram Plains

[satellite gallery=35 auto=on caption=off thumbs=on] On March 10th CTED hosted a Town Hall that featured a hands-on training session for small holder farmers in the Afram Plains co-presented by our CTED partner Mr. Kwadwo Sarpong, Director of the Kumawu office of the Ghana Ministry of Agriculture (MoFA). The topic for the training was best practices in pineapple cultivation.  The hands-on tutorial which took place at an area farm was conducted by Mr. Emmanuel Owusu Oduro. Its purpose was to introduce some of the best practices in pineapple cultivation to farmers in the area and to provide them with the opportunity to engage in open dialogue and knowledge exchange among their peers as well as with (MoFA) agricultural extension officers. Mr. Sarpong has been an invaluable partner to the CTED research team led by Prof. Yaw Nyarko. The strong linkages between his office and the local farmers in Kumawu and the surrounding villages has provided CTED with unparalleled access to farmers through our regularly convened town halls, and our ongoing research activities. The CTED Town Halls in the Afram Plains provide local farmers, traders, civic representatives and ministry experts with a platform to share best practices, brainstorm solutions to farming and market challenges, and offer practical training opportunities through MoFA and CTED teams. Additionally, CTED has been working with farmers in the Afram Plains on our mobile Market App. Farmers in rural Africa often lack important geographical and agricultural information about their land. Sometimes they do not even know the boundaries of their own property. CTED built a GIS agricultural mapping system that allows farmers to precisely map the boundaries of their land and food transportation routes. CTED is also studying the technology and economics of Market Information Systems, and is working with Esoko, a company that uses mobile phone technology to send price alerts to the farmers so that they are better able to negotiate with traders and build better lives for themselves. CTED’s project focuses both on the impact of this technology and on developing ways to enhance it to help smallholder farmers in rural Ghana. We have also hosted other Town Hall events on The Best Practices in Yam Cultivation, a well attended forum on Tourism & Greening for Rural Economic Transformation among several others.  We plan to continue to engage farming communities in constructive conversations that lead to new peer-to-peer insights and the dissemination of local knowledge and expertise between farmers.

CTED 2014 Annual Meeting

[satellite gallery=32 auto=on caption=off thumbs=on]
New York University’s Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED) held its Fourth Annual Meeting on February 25, 2014 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The aim of this year’s event was to highlight the possibilities for innovative technologies to contribute to emerging regions' economic development, within the context of CTED’s five main research areas: Finance, Education, Energy, Agriculture and Health. The event also showcased CTED’s ongoing research and collaborative efforts in the UAE, Pakistan, India, Ghana, Ethiopia and the USA. The meeting's interdisciplinary programme brought together scholars, practitioners and distinguished guests and friends of CTED. A number of our esteemed Advisory Council members were able to join us as well, including: Dr. Zarrouk, Chief Economist at the Islamic Development Bank; Sudhir Shetty, Chief Operating Officer of Global Operations at the UAE Exchange; and Tim Gollin, Managing Director at One Equity Partners LLC. The programme included presentations by Dr. Yaw Nyarko, Tiffany Tong, Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramanian, Nicole Hildebrandt, and Sunandan Chakraborty on topics including:

  • The Economics of the Food Crop Network in a Small Developing Nation (Ghana)
  • Experience of Designing a Mobile GIS Mapping Tool for Rural Farmers in Ghana
  • Fine-grained Dengue Surveillance with Citizen-Driven Data in Lahore, Pakistan
  • Summarization Search: A New Search Abstraction for Mobile Devices
  • Information is Power? Impact of SMS-based Market Information System on Farmers in Ghana

Africa House will conduct research on Ethiopia Commodity Exchange

With the objective of increasing knowledge on commodities markets and promoting cutting edge technologies for economic development, Africa House and our partner organizations, the Development Research Institute (DRI) and the Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED), have established an agreement with the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) to conduct a rigorous research agenda to evaluate ECX. Professors and PhD students from the Departments of Economics, Mathematics, and Computer Science at NYU and NYU-Abu Dhabi will analyze the impact of ECX in the Ethiopian economy, assess its institutional design and technology systems, and measure the performance of the market. Mr. Bemnet Aschenaki, Chief Strategy Officer of ECX, and Prof. Yaw Nyarko, Director of Africa House and CTED and Co-Director of DRI, presented the objectives and scope of the partnership in a press conference at ECX offices in Addis Ababa. Mr. Aschenaki expressed the need of an independent evaluation of the exchange in order to understand its current value, identify the areas of improvement, and shape the future of the exchange. Prof. Nyarko remarked that the transfer of knowledge and local capacity building are key components of the agreement. Established in 2008, ECX was conceived as a set of mechanisms and rules designed to address issues that limit the development of the agricultural sector, such as high transaction costs, information asymmetries, coordination failures, lack of contract enforcement, among others. The research team will study the performance of the exchange vis-à-vis its initial objectives by generating theoretical and empirical research outputs. The analysis of the Ethiopian experience will provide tools for other Sub-Saharan African countries to consider the development of commodity exchanges. The research topics are organized into three broad categories:

  • Impact on the welfare of different stakeholders, in particular small-scale producers
  • Intermediation and institutional design
  • Technology and diffusion of information
[embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUkpr7lZZaY[/embed]

A Talk With Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse

IMG_0478Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse (IFRPI, Ethiopia) at NYU Africa House My good friend and colleague gave a great talk the other day.  It was on aspirations.  His basic argument is that there is something called “aspirations” that people have in their heads.  Their work effort depends upon the level of these aspirations.  The aspirations can be changed by providing information.  His work involves showing Ethiopian farmers TV programs – some positive, some placebo.  Those with the positive images had higher levels of aspirations. His paper/slides can be found here. I think that this work is great.  I prefer interpreting the work as one involving models of learning. You learn what is possible by getting information (including TV programs).  If you are a villager you may learn, for example, that it is actually not impossible for a villager to get a loan from a bank – this will help you aspire to better things. I am doing work with Alemayehu on our Ethiopia Coffee Commodities Markets project.  Great guy – more information about his work can be found here. He has also sent over some of his more philosophical writing – focus on the “people perspective”. Click here for his essay – Enjoy! Y. Nyarko About The International Food Policy Research Institute IFPRI is an international agricultural research center founded in the early 1970s to improve the understanding of national agricultural and food policies to promote the adoption of innovations in agricultural technology. Additionally, IFPRI was meant to shed more light on the role of agricultural and rural development in the broader development pathway of a country The mission of IFPRI is to seek sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty through research. IFPRI carries out food policy research and disseminates it through hundreds of publications, bulletins, conferences, and other initiatives. IFPRI was organized as a District of Columbia non-profit, non-stock corporation on March 5, 1975 and its first research bulletin was produced in February 1976. IFPRI has offices in several developing countries, including China, Ethiopia, and India, and has research staff working in many more countries around the world. Most of the research takes place in developing countries in Central America, South America, Africa, and Asia. IFPRI is part of a network of international research institutes funded in part by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which in turn is funded by governments, private businesses and foundations, and the World Bank

A Conversation with Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin: Setting up a Commodity Exchange and Doing Business in Africa

A Conversation with Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin: Setting up a Commodity Exchange and Doing Business in Africa April 25th, 2012 Grand Hall, NYU Global Center, 238 Thompson Street 5:30 - 7:30 PM Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin shared and discussed with the audience her experience setting up the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange and the current trends in doing business in Africa. The first of its kind, the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange is a national multi-commodity exchange that provides low-cost, secure marketplace services to benefit all agricultural market stakeholders and invites industry professionals to seek membership enabling them to participate in trading. Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. As described by The Economist, she is an internationally recognized thought leader on agricultural marketing in Africa and global development, with prior roles as Senior Economist at the World Bank and Senior Research Fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, as well as UNCTAD in Geneva. She is among The Africa Report's "50 Women Shaping Africa" 2011, named Ethiopian Person of the Year 2010, and nominated Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year 2010 by African Business. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwNmhV1xy38[/embed] Click here to view Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin's publication (March 2012) Click here to watch Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin's talk on TED (June 2007)