Management Research & Development


Objectives and strategy

The Round Table Africa 2.0 (RTA) project is a spin-off of a Dutch government sponsored project between Maastricht School of Management (MSM) and ESAMI (Tanzania). After MSM pulled out, the project was given new life by StatMind and its networked European and African partners, in a new research center.

The Round Table Africa program has two overarching goals:

  • To empower regional and national organizations, and stakeholders (civil society, government and private sector) to make effective use of sustainable economic business opportunities;
  • To catalyze lessons learned and knowledge sharing on sustainable economic business by local, regional and international actors.

The strategy is threefold: firstly, to develop an international and regional expert network on sustainable economic development; secondly through integrated, multi-faceted sector-chain programs; and thirdly by an international programme of information, advocacy and networking.

The RTA project has two different phases. First there is the research phase supported by a Doctoral program. Then comes the phase in which the results of the research will be used to enhance economic activities. The multi-stakeholder approach, with a Round Table Meeting for every value chains covered, should lead to concrete activities in capacity building, matchmaking and policy support.

The analytical framework

Value Chain Analysis

The objective of the value chain analysis in the Round Table Africa program is to analyze and improve the position of African suppliers in global or regional value chains. By analyzing chains, actors in the civil society, public, and private sector will learn how to define and give shape to sustainable economic development. Analysis entails detecting both opportunities and obstacles in the chain. Obstacles may refer to the lack of suitable banking products, the non-existence of sound industrial policies, the absence or ineffectiveness of farmer associations, high trade tariffs, and lack of access to technology and to market knowledge.

The Round Table Africa program focuses on the identification of value chains with the potential to generate employment, and to be sustainable from a social, environmental and economical point of view.

As such the value chain approach takes a holistic approach, and considers the performance of the entire chain. The driving question is, how can the chain actors join forces and serve the market best and benefit from increased value addition. Analyses make use of a common framework consisting of the following steps, in order to provide systematic input for the round tables.

  • Mapping of the value chains in a sub-sector: identification of actors, and their roles and relationships; markets; and supply channels.
  • Detailed information on the activities, processes and transactions; determination of incomes and value accruing to the different levels, locations and stakeholders in the chain.
  • Institutional environment: factors and actors that have a substantial influence on the value chain development at international, national and local levels. Factors can be internal (referring to the process in the chain) and external (the enabling environment).
  • From analysis to value chain development: opportunities and constraints are identified.

Competitiveness analysis

Regional development requires regions and value chains to increase their competitiveness. The challenge is in finding indicators that are critical for success. Measures of competitiveness can be applied at the national, the regional, the sector or the enterprise level. At the national level, a stable political and economic environment and sound political and legal institutions are the macro-economic and political factors supporting competitiveness.

Doctoral Program

RTA 2.0 is backed up by research undertaken by doctoral researchers. This dedicated doctoral program focuses on the themes of value chains and competitiveness. The programme is a structured, 30-36 months programme, with three overlapping tracks.

  1. Global Value Chain Analysis: industry-level aspects. Keywords: value chain mapping; moving up in the value chain; sustainable development; multi-stakeholder approach
  2. Industry Policies & Competitiveness: macro-economic aspects. Keywords: industrial policies; comparative research
  3. Lead Firms & Competitiveness: micro-economic aspects. Keywords: High Performance Organizations & Partnerships.

Within the three tracks, candidates can apply to participate in our research projects. The projects provide a broad set of research objectives, literature, methodologies and data sets. Within this framework candidates have the freedom to add research elements.

Candidates benefit from support of StatMind’s Research Centers in Europe and Africa. Many directly analyzable data sets are available, along with complete documentation and manuals. Training and consultancy are included as part of the programme.

For identification and analysis of promising and/or important sectors, data are made available on international trade and on competitiveness. For mapping value chains, and for assessment of sector strength and weaknesses, standard methodologies are provided.