The global economy is structured around global value chains (GVCs) that link producers and consumers around the world. For many countries, the ability to effectively insert into a GVC is a vital condition for development. This process could also serve as a stepping-stone for organizations in emerging nations to integrate into the world economy.

What are the best ways to integrate into a GVC? What are some of the tools to identify different opportunities within GVCs? How are other international organizations, aid agencies and governments leveraging GVCs? For countries, how can understanding global value chains improve competitiveness? For local firms, where is your organization positioned within a GVC and where are opportunities for upgrading? Duke University’s Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (Duke CGGC) addresses these types of questions as part of its customized training packages.


Policy makers, economic developers, consultants, and academics focused on improving country or company export competitiveness have all benefitted from Duke CGGC’s training workshops.


Course content combines the academic rigor associated with a reputable institution like Duke University and real world application stemming from Duke CGGC’s client-sponsored research activities. Learning outcomes are tailored for each particular context. The entire Duke CGGC team has extensive experience in utilizing the framework. We can put together a team that matches clients’ learning objectives to the CGGC researchers’ industry and geographic expertise.

Typically, the Duke CGGC teaching team would lead an interactive case study presentation and then participants would use the methodology that was introduced and directly apply it using their own data. The members of the Duke CGGC teaching team would provide individual support to participants as they work on their assignments.


Training clients have included the likes of the African Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Center for Competitiveness and the Kazakhstan National Analytical Center. Here is a specific example of the impact that has been generated:

Client: Caribbean Center for Competitiveness (CCfC)

Learning Objectives: CCfC’s goal is to support private sector development. It is a challenge for many in the region to find new sources of revenue. CCfC wanted to equip trainees with methodologies for competitive and comparative advantage.

Deliverables: The CCfC engaged Duke CGGC to lead two different workshops for 30 individuals throughout the region with a vested interest in supporting private sector development: researchers, policy makers, consultants, and academics. The workshops focused on value chain analysis and writing case studies. A particular highlight was using video conferencing to interview one of Duke CGGC’s clients in Central America as it was a way for the participants to follow-up and ask questions of the decision-makers after they had done the case.

Results: Individuals left at the end of the workshops with a set of tools that they could apply to their own circumstances. This enabled them to see if their findings made sense through the lens of identifying opportunities for development. It also gave the participants the confidence to articulate strategies for development.

In post-workshop evaluations, participants were overwhelmingly pleased with their experience and many had requested additional workshops. In a separate survey, participants were asked if the trainings impacted their work. The resounding response was yes. It made a difference on the job and how they were able to convince their superiors what to do and how to go about it.

CCfC also has a book coming out from the University that features six different cases, a direct result from the learnings gleaned in the workshop.


“If you are looking for a set of practical tools to function more efficiently in your job and to be able to address issues of firm or industry competitiveness, then I highly recommend these workshops. The workshops were most beneficial to us because they were practical. We were to apply a theory and put it into practice. We particularly resonated with the case-based learning via Duke CGGC’s client work. We thought the workshop was so good that we did it twice! That is testament to the value that we experienced.”
- Indera Sagewan-Alli, Executive Director for the Caribbean Centre for Competitiveness
“The GVC approach we learned during the Duke workshops is very useful for collaboration. It brings people with different perspectives together and allows them to go through a useful process to evaluate opportunities. Sometimes when you go to workshops, there are times when the information is not relevant. That wasn’t the case with the Duke workshops. There was lots of energy around the topics and I know this is something we can use for our organization.”
– Paula Bourne, Barbados Investment and Development Corporation