Power and Poor People

The power of the foreign importers selling African products to retailers in wealthy countries is a major block to increasing African income.

An estimated 100 million poor Africans produce high quality, distinctive products. To global consumers, these products are distinctive from and superior to commodities in better taste, aroma, efficacy, heritage, reputation or other elements, so consumers pay high premiums at retail for these distinctive qualities.

Exporting African companies and producers often have no power to negotiate an export price higher than the price of a non-distinctive commodity product.

In contrast, an importer positioned in the final market country can capture a bigger share of retail value than the producers and exporters.

So, poor producers need the power of an importer to get a better share of retail value. Our work is to reposition African businesses with this power.


Light Years IP has helped millions of poor producers of Africa’s finest quality export products earn much higher income through repositioning for power.

Poor producers of distinctive products can increase their income from 2-3% of the retail price up to 20-40% of the retail price.

This transformational development is powerful enough to overcome extreme remoteness, one of the hardest obstacles to overcome.



Success Stories

Ethiopian Fine Coffee

  1. Ethiopia secured ownership of the brands of their top 3 fine coffees by 2008.
  2. Ethiopia then used the power of a brand owner to increase negotiating power.
  3. The export price increased to 275% of its’ previous level, resulting in over $100 million increase in income.

See Film and section under Ethiopian Fine Coffee

Changing Power for women Nilotica Shea producers and exporters

  1. The women producers formed an exporting business.
  2. Now, the women’s business owns the importer and the retail brand.
  3. With the women holding power, income has tripled and will rise by at least 25 times.

See film and section under Shea Producers

Changing Power for the Maasai

  1. The Maasai built a representative organization to control and manage their cultural brand.
  2. Then, the Maasai asked for trademarks to be transferred to their organization. Global corporations agreed.
  3. They hired licensing experts to work with corporations so that use of the cultural brand is respectful and provides income to the Maasai people.

See section under Maasai


Learn more about developing a Business Model for Social Entreprenurship through our guides

Changing Power for Women's Shea

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Changing Power for the Maasai People

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