Skills for Upgrading

Workforce Development and Global Value Chains in Developing Countries

This research project examines workforce development strategies in developing countries in the context of the shifting upgrading dynamics of global value chains. Funded by RTI International and carried out by Duke CGGC researchers in collaboration with RTI, this research addresses policymakers, donors and development practitioners to improve our understanding of how workforce development strategies can enhance the upgrading efforts and competitiveness of developing countries in global industries.


Smart GridValue chain practice has become widely utilized in enterprise and industry development in recent years, yet there is almost no literature on workforce development in the context of what we now know about the dynamic upgrading trajectories of countries in global value chains. This introductory chapter highlights the importance of adopting a complementary GVC approach to workforce development to improve the participation and competitiveness of developing countries in the global economy.
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The Fruit and Vegetables Global Value Chain

Smart GridShows the shift of fruit and vegetable preparation from rural households to the urban kitchen, and highlights the new skills and global standards required of workers and suppliers in developing countries to meet the needs of global supermarkets.
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The Apparel Global Value Chain

Smart GridExport-processing zones in low-cost countries have become synonymous with globalization, but what is the next step for developing countries in apparel? Outlines the skills required to turn assembly lines into one-stop production centers that include design, logistics and brands.
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The Offshore Services Global Value Chain

Smart GridDeveloping countries around the world are competing to become the next Bangalore, but they need to take various steps to ensure their human capital can meet the exacting demands and professional certifications required by developed world clients.
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The Tourism Global Value Chain

Smart GridGlobal tourists are traveling further, faster and more frequently than ever before. This report indicates how developing countries can prepare their tourism workforce to provide the high levels of customer service expected by today’s sophisticated traveler.
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Smart GridThis final chapter summarizes the key findings of the "Skills for Upgrading" research project in four thematic areas: upgrading, workforce skills, institutions and stakeholders, and global standards. We also offer a list of recommendations regarding workforce development strategies for donors and development practitioners to best prepare the workforce in developing countries to respond to the growing demands of global industries. 
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