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Trickling Up? A study of eco/social enterprises in Southern and Eastern Africa and their role in sustainable development at the base of the pyramid

  • Start date: 01 February 2011
  • End date: 31 March 2013

In 2001 Kofi Annan stated that 'trade not aid' is the long-term route out of poverty for Africa.

This research project identifies examples of social and environmental enterprises in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC), to explore and evaluate the role that these enterprises may play as a mechanism to 'trickle up' social, environmental and economic benefits from within local communities.

A directory will be developed of examples of social or environmental enterprises that produce, retail, manufacture or offer services within the SADC and EAC countries, as well as the donor agencies, voluntary associations and assurance schemes that support these.

Using a mixed methodology combining archival data analysis, surveys, and interviews the study will analyse the examples with the Directory, followed by in-depth qualitative case study research on 9-12 social and/or environmental enterprises from within Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia.

This study will consider the interaction of these enterprises with their local and global supply chains, explore the role of donor funding and industry associations, and evaluate the specific role that such enterprises may play in poverty alleviation and sustainable development within communities typically considered to be in the economic 'base of the pyramid'.

Best paper award

Co-author: David Littlewood Date: 13 November 2013 Degree/other honour