Beyond Fair Trade, Transnational entrepreneurship and partnerships with African Diaspora

Africa In Motion (AIM), a self-organisation of African Diaspora asked the Science Shop to do an action research on the meaning of “fairness” to Africa Diaspora, and on how to construct new transnational social enterprises that go beyond fair trade.

An Academic Consultancy Training (ACT) Group of 7 students explored different perspectives on Fair Trade amongst the African Diaspora in The Netherlands. To illustrate, one of the African Diaspora notes: “Chocolate from Africa, made in Africa, for Africans. I think that would be a great case to see how they (Diaspora) manage to become entrepreneurs within this industry.” Read the entire report ‘Fairer than Fairtrade’ at the section downloads. African Diaspora that return to their home countries are called returnees. In Ghana researchers and students delved into the role of returnees in the cocoa sector. This research revealed the knowledge and experience of the returnees, their current role in the cocoa sector and their potential once returnees are taken serious for their embodied knowledge and experience achieved in both an European and African country. The outcomes of this research are shared via a policy brief (downloads).

One of ACT students and interns within this Science Shop project, Linda Klunder started a cocoa coalition to strengthen connections among people who want to transform the cocoa sector to become more socially just. Later on, Africa In Motion, started SHAER which stands for ‘Stimulating Healthy African European Relationship’. Both networks emerged from the connections, understandings and experiences collected throughout this action research. SHAER is an African-European network with people involved from African and European countries, and that aims to build new, equal trade relationships in which revenues and environmental care are equally shared. A beautiful example is how Linda Klunder through this action research became engaged in Kumasi Drinks, a transnational social enterprise that will provide half of the shares to cocoa farmers who provide the pulp of the cocoa fruit to make Kumasi Drinks.  

To share and celebrate the research outcomes, and to jointly explore pathways toward a more fairer cocoa sector the virtual Equal SHAER festival has been organized on February 11th 2021. The stream of the non-interactive part of this event is available for those interested.

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And on October 27th2021 a Wageningen Dialogue has been organised with the title: “Beyond Fair Trade: Rethinking African-European Value Chains”. Some of the speakers were Max Koffi (Africa In Motion), Linda Klunder (Kumasi Drinks), Irene van Staveren (Rethinking Economics), Maja Slingerland (WUR) and Rob Lubberink (HvA).