It was interesting to find that the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Australia apparently have found each other, preparing a joint statement as input towards the open working group. Already for some time the Dutch seem to follow closely what is happening in Australia and for years the agenda of Dutch policy makers has been fed by developments in the UK. What makes the Dutch falling in love with the Australian part of the Commonwealth. Its proximity to the Pacific may be but one reason. Another reason could be found in the way the Australian government has chosen to position its international development agenda and who is driving it. The content of the statement (just a one-pager) should point to what brings these pragmatist together. They are embracing a Results Based approach linked to clear outcomes in 2030 and all of them are in favour of a stronger role for the private sector in achieving those outcomes.
From dairy to food
An example of market-driven development that seems to gain momentum in this Trade for Aid agenda is The London Dairy Exchange (see youtube link below), not surprisingly having its base in 'The City'. The tool obviously revolutionizes market access bringing the principles of trading to the doorstep of any intermediate or farmer clever enough to handle the database. Because again it is all about data and connectivity. Recently the TLDE joined forces with Mask-Africa expanding their sole focus on dairy to include food crops in Africa launching the African Food Exchange.
Is this something Justine Greening (Secretary of State for International Cooperation of the UK) and here fellow ministers from Nigeria and Indonesia are aiming to promote at the upcoming High-Level Meeting in Mexico. As already discussed at a side meeting in Abuja preparing for the Mexico gathering later this year business continues its storming entrance in the global development arena and the for-profits seem to outnumber the not-for-profits for the first time. It will be a major theme and market mechanisms like the Africa Food Exchange may try their luck.
Is the next bubble in the making? Is this agenda driven by traders in The City looking to hedge new margins or is this to be a truly inclusive mechanism that provides access to markets for millions of small-holders? Are economies of scale in the interest of the small-holder or in the interest of investors who see new horizons in the investment market? Do we really talk about a level playing field?
To be continued...