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Social Networks and Value Chain Development Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Social Networks and Value Chain Development

Social Networks and Value Chain Development


Never before in the history of the world has humanity been so mobilized to take on poverty. At the turn of the century, the United Nations set a Millennium Development Goal to reduce by half the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015. So far, these efforts have focused on eliminating rural poverty, where the majority of the world’s poor have always lived. Now, however, urban poverty has become significant, highly concentrated, and fast growing.
Cities have always represented a chance for a better life. The promise of urban opportunity has been the source of considerable growth in the world’s cities throughout modern history. This, more than ever, is the case today, especially in countries with developing economies. For the first time, over half of the world’s population—3.3 billion people—live in cities. By 2030, towns and cities in developing countries will hold 81 percent of the world’s urban population (UNFPA 2007; Roseland et al. 2007).
The explosive growth of cities brings with it the significant task of sustainable development—generating income and employment for growing populations, and effectively managing the social and environmental costs that come with high density. In many ways, cities are growing far faster than they are developing. One billion people—one-sixth of the world’s population—already live in slums, and this number continues to rise rapidly (Garau et al. 2005). Because the SEEP Network and its members see urban poverty as a significant issue, in 2008, with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Value Initiative Program (VIP) began to advance urban value chain development to assist millions in working their way out of poverty. To achieve this goal, the Value Initiative has funded four urban demonstration programs in cities around the world.
  • VIP Indonesia: consortium led by Mercy Corps Indonesia in Jakarta with the tofu and tempeh value chains;
  • VIP India: consortium led by ACCESS Development Services in Jaipur, India, through its Jaipur Jewelry Artisans Development Project (JJADe), with the fashion jewelry value chain;
  • VIP Kenya: consortium led by Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) in western Kenya with the passion fruit value chain;
  • VIP Jamaica: consortium led by The Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) in Kingston, Jamaica, with the ornamental fish value chain.

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