Young Leaders Work To Ensure Tsunami-hit Aceh Is Open For Business

Working with UNDP Indonesia and Aceh Partnership for Economic Development, YLP participants aim to create a world class cocoa supply chain in Aceh.

Hong Kong, China (December 03, 2009) /ChinaNewswire.com/ — This December marks five years since the devastating tsunami of 2004 hit Southeast Asia, arguably the worst natural disaster of the century. The epicenter of the undersea quake was just 160km hundred miles off the coast of Indonesia and the resulting wave which hit thepeninsula of Aceh left more than 150,000 people dead with loss and damage estimated at more than 97% of Aceh's GDP.

Shortly after the disaster in 2005 a peace accord was signed ending protracted fighting in the province and over the last five years a remarkable outpouring of donor money, some $2-3b, has poured into Aceh in reconstruction and recovery efforts. With aid money now beginning to dry up, the most important question for Aceh is how it will sustain the dramatic economic recovery which in turn will ensure stability and prosperity after nearly 30 years of separatist strife.

This week as part of a new approach to solving difficult challenges of economic development, an international group of young corporate managers will travel to Aceh to propose improvements to the production and supply of one of the region's key commodities: Cocoa

This 13th Global Young Leaders Programme (YLP) is run by the Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), and facilitated in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Aceh Partnerships in Economic Development (APED). The approach taken by APED in guiding this cocoa project is a departure from conventional donor funded projects. The output is commercially oriented and aimed at creating a business enterprise that can be financially sustainable. Of the three main sectors where APED is focused–coffee, cocoa and rubber–the prospects for cocoa are particularly promising

Global demand for cocoa has been outstripping supply to the extent that prices reported this summer by Cadbury were up 30% over 2008. Unstable supply from the leading producer countries of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Indonesia has motivated buyers to not only secure cocoa beans early, but also invest in farmers to improve yields and quality. Furthermore, consumer demands for organic, fair trade and specialty products have driven exporters such as Armajaro, Olam and others to pay closer attention to traceability and supply chain operators.

All of these factors present key opportunities for Acehnese cocoa farmers, who collectively are currently producing yields and quality of beans that are dramatically below their potential.

The project is also an opportunity to think differently about the role of cocoa producers in the global supply chain for chocolate and how profits might be directed back to rural communities. Despite high end chocolate fetching upwards of $350/kg among affluent consumers, the average price paid to farmers in Indonesia currently can be as low as US$.25/kg.

YLP Programme Manager, Eric Stryson said, " For participants in Aceh, this is a lesson in global supply chains and the realities of serious imbalances along the way. By working on this real life project in Aceh, which has good potential to attract investment into the region, participants can begin to understand the complexities of business and reflect on their own processes of decision-making back in their own companies."

At the conclusion of the participants' work in Aceh, GIFT and APED have organized a business briefing session in Medan on Friday, 11th December which will bring together important stakeholders in the Acehnese Cocoa sector, including key supply chain and government operators, as well as potential investors in the new enterprise.

For cocoa producers and YLP participants alike the mutual learning that will occur in Aceh is certain to inspire new thinking and promising opportunities for the future.

GIFT is a social venture think tank which runs leadership development programmes applying business skills to social causes and linking investment to
commercial opportunities with social impact. The YLP is an immersive Executive Education programme originally launched as a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative which uses a one of a kind approach to preparing corporate leaders for succeeding in a complex and changing world. Previous YLP projects have been based in China,India, Laos and Cambodia dealing with issues such as rural supply chains, sustainably produced forest products and scaling up of renewable energy distribution.

About GIFT: www.globalinstitutefortomorrow.com
GIFT is a social venture think tank that prepares future leaders of corporations, government and civil society to think differently about the role of
business in society and in so doing creates new investment opportunities for dynamic social enterprises in the region.

About UNDP Indonesia: http://www.undp.or.id/
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. Its mission is to be an agent for change to promote human development and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). UNDP Indonesia is working in four priority areas: Democratic Governance, MDG Monitoring and Advocacy, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, and Environmental Sustainability

About APED: www.aped-project.org
APED promotes economic development in Aceh by empowering the public-private partnerships associated with export clusters that enable government, the private sector, and other stakeholder to collaborate, source out opportunities and tackle limitations. The partnership's role is to generate ideas for increasing production, trade and marketing; to mobilize necessary material, financial and institutional resources; and to collaborate with other organizations to implement the plans and initiatives.

CONTACT INFORMATION
  • For more information about GIFT and the Global Young Leaders Programme (YLP) please contact Eric Stryson, Programme Manager at +852 3571 8124 or via email at:estryson@global-inst.com

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