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East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (EATIH) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

In 2018, NML worked with EATIH on a USAID-funded project to generate a situational analysis of the Kenya-Ethiopia Trade and Development Corridor (the “Moyale Corridor”). This situational analysis provided both an economic and legal diagnostic of factors affecting current trade flows along the Moyale Corridor, combining extensive desk and field research. The study analyzed how the corridor could deliver on its potential to improve regional agricultural trade and facilitate the movement of surplus staple foods to deficit areas. Among other outputs, NML developed a legal and regulatory analysis of the market environment, highlighting the key issues that affect trade between Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as offered targeted recommendations for strengthening the corridor over the short-, medium-, and long-term.)


Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)


In 2017, NML partnered with CSIS to complete a comprehensive assessment of trade and food security, using Kenya and India as comparative case studies. This assessment used a systematic approach to the question of how to ensure food security and looked at four key value chains: rice and beans in Kenya and rice and horticulture in India. 

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)


The New Markets Lab has partnered with IFAD on an inclusive approach to addressing legal and regulatory issues to scale up value chain development, which includes an assessment of legal and regulatory issues related to land tenure, seed and input markets, financial services, standards, and trade. Following in-depth consultations and fieldwork, NML and IFAD have developed a comprehensive Occasional Paper on "The Role of Law and Regulation in Scaling Up African Value Chains."

Partnerships Anchor


Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP)


In 2016, with the Support of AGRA Scaling Seeds and Technology Partnership (SSTP) through USAID, NML began a partnership with AFAP to expand NML’s model for using comprehensive Legal and Regulatory Guides to lead a process for change in the enabling environment to the fertilizer sectors in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Mozambique. In collaboration with AFAP, NML is developing country-specific Legal and Regulatory Guides designed to highlight challenges to accessing new market opportunities in the fertilizer sector, identify key legal and regulatory intervention points to overcome issues in the enabling environment, and share international and regional best practices. NML is also working with AFAP to design Regional Regulatory Reform Guidelines that seek to advance regional harmonization of fertilizer laws and regulations.

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)


In 2016, NML completed a series of regulatory guides focused on key services sectors in developing markets (financial services, information communication technology (ICT), tourism, and transport). These regulatory guides were meant to serve as practical tools that highlighted key regulatory intervention points and trade offs that should be considered to best leverage sustainable market growth and economic and social development. More broadly, these guides help support developing countries by offering recommendations and pathways for regulatory and legal reforms. The program was also designed to build capacity by guiding public and private stakeholder debate and engagement.

Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA)


The New Markets Lab has partnered with SFSA and its Seeds2B initiative since 2012 to use legal and regulatory reform to scale seed systems, including at the regional level. NML’s partnership with SFSA has also grown to include work on demand-led breeding, local seed collection, and licensing models for intellectual property.  As part of the work on regional seed harmonization, in 2013, NML wrote a best practices legal and regulatory assessment, the “Enabling Environment for Scaling Seed Systems,” as one chapter in an eight-chapter Brief on Planning for Scale produced in collaboration between SFSA and USAID. In 2014, NML developed a comparative analysis of regional variety release and registration harmonization in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on how these initiatives are being implemented and working in practice. Since 2015, the New Markets Lab and SFSA have developed five case studies designed to assess implementation of regional seed initiatives at the national level in Kenya (COMESA and EAC), Ghana (Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria (ECOWAS), Zimbabwe (COMESA and Southern African Development Community (SADC)), and Zambia (COMESA and SADC). Since 2016, NML and SFSA have partnered on Test Cases to “stress test” regional regulatory systems in the EAC, COMESA, SADC, and ECOWAS with the goal of helping to implement regional regulatory harmonization initiatives. These Test Cases have facilitated entries into regional seed catalogues and highlighted important trends in the harmonization of regional seed rules. In addition, NML has produced studies on the legal and regulatory landscape for demand-led breeding, with studies in seed variety registration in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, and Mali.  NML has also worked with SFSA on intellectual property rights for plant breeders (including flexible licensing agreements), and the partners are part of a new project, the Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISSA) project, funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and completed in partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and other partners from the CGIAR.


German Marshall Fund of the United States

(Center of Excellence for Transformational Partnerships, supported by the Finnish Government)


The New Markets Lab has partnered with GMF on coordinating the Center of Excellence for Transformational Partnerships (COETP) in Tanzania, an initiative created by GMF to serve as a catalytic knowledge hub to support learning and public-private partnerships that can drive transformational change in Africa. The COETP highlighted several projects that will contribute best practices and serve as models for future expansion: the Horticultural Cold Chain Project in partnership with McLarty Associates and the Tanzanian Horticultural Association (TAHA), the Women’s Leadership Program in collaboration with the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and work to build capacity on legal and regulatory issues with the New Markets Lab.

Brookings Institution


The New Markets Lab has partnered with the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution on market growth, agricultural development, and private sector engagement through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). NML has also worked with Brookings on issues related to the African Growth and Opportunity Act, co-authoring a think piece such as “Building Regional Markets: AGOA and the Economic Partnership Agreements.”

Global Harvest Initiative (GHI)


The New Markets Lab was a consultative partner of the Global Harvest Initiative, a private sector voice for productivity growth throughout the agricultural value chain. NML and GHI collaporated on a value chain approach to trade policy and released, “International Trade and Agriculture: Supporting Value Chains to Deliver Development and Food Security” in January 2014.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)


The New Markets Lab has partnered with IFAD on an inclusive approach to addressing legal and regulatory issues to scale up value chain development, which includes an assessment of legal and regulatory issues related to land tenure, seed and input markets, financial services, standards, and trade. Following in-depth consultations and fieldwork, NML and IFAD have developed a comprehensive Occasional Paper on "The Role of Law and Regulation in Scaling Up African Value Chains."



The New Markets Lab and AGree have been partnering since early 2012 to bring grassroots value chain development into the broader policy discussion around international trade, in support of increased food security and development. This collaboration has included partnership around the Advisory Council on Trade, a high-level experts group created by the New Markets Lab in 2010 and trade and investment-focused value chain studies.

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT)


With the support of AGRA SSTP through USAID, the SAGCOT Centre, Ltd. and NML partnered to develop an inclusive and innovative program on seed law and regulation, identifying challenges and opportunities facing existing stakeholders and facilitating future growth in the seed sector. This project supported the activities of the Government of Tanzania through the G8 Cooperation Framework to Support the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa, which SSTP helped to facilitate and operationalize. SAGCOT and NML engaged with government stakeholders, including the Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries (MALF) and private sector companies of all sizes to further implement the New Alliance commitments and build a common understanding between public and private sectors on implementation of laws and regulations related to seeds and other inputs. Ultimately, this partnership created a model for assessing and implementing national-level law and regulation (viewed also in the context of the regional and international norms that influence them) that is being replicated and scaled up in other sectors and countries, including the fertilizer sector in Ethiopia. The project resulted in the development of a comprehensive, user-friendly Legal Guide and a concrete roadmap for reform to address legal and regulatory challenges in inputs, developed through public and private sector stakeholders, which includes assessment of rules around contract farmer and cooperatives.

Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)


NML was a co-creator of the ANDE Legal Working Group focused on legal issues in the social enterprise and small and growing business (SGB) sector.  NML co-leads the Legal Working Group’s successor, the Policy, Legal and Regulatory Learning Lab (PLRLL), which covers a broad range of current policy, legal, and regulatory issues facing the SME community. The PLRLL builds capacity across ANDE members as they work through legal and regulatory challenges across sectors and geographies as well as informs policy advocacy in support of impact investment. With ANDE, NML has developed several legal and regulatory tools: 


  • East Africa Legal Guide:  Under the ANDE Legal Working Group, the New Markets Lab led creation of a Legal Guide for Doing Business in East Africa, in collaboration with the Acumen Fund, Open Capital Advisors, the Grassroots Business Fund, and Root Capital, which introduces social entrepreneurs to the legal and regulatory environment for doing business in the region


  • Legal Guide for Women Entrepreneurs:  NML has led the creation of a Legal Guide for Women Entrepreneurs, working with a number of partners such as Land O’Lakes and the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. This project includes capacity building with women entrepreneurs and collaboration among lawyers and entrepreneurs in the field.  The Women’s Legal Guide was launched in Nairobi, Kenya in October 2015. It covers law and regulation pertaining to a range of economic activities such as contracts, access to finance, and agricultural market regulation. The chapter on agriculture includes issues concerning contract farming, cooperatives, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures.

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)


The New Markets Lab has partnered with CCA to assess legal and regulatory issues related to implementation of the U.S. Government Trade Africa and Power Africa initiatives, recognizing the central role of the enabling environment in supporting private sector trade and energy investment. The New Markets Lab is working with CCA to develop and share guides on the power enabling environment in Kenya and Nigeria, as well as a report on trade facilitation in East Africa.

World Food Program USA (WFP-USA)


NML partnered with WFP-USA on the policy, legal, and regulatory aspects of food security in developing markets. This work has included the links between food insecurity and other issues, including humanitarian crisis prevention, international financial institutions, security, social safety nets, value chain development, and rule of law and has included factors such as legal institutions, functioning markets, and partnerships that have the ability to facilitate wider benefit worldwide.

International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP)


The New Markets Lab is engaged in an ongoing partnership ISLP, an international non-profit that helps connect pro-bono legal expertise with international legal projects. To date, NML has partnered with ISLP on a number of entrepreneur case studies designed to address legal and regulatory issues in the market and share learning across sectors. By working closely with ISLP, the New Markets Lab has received pro-bono legal support to evaluate issues including customs procedures within sub-Saharan Africa and the administration of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Global Women’s Leadership Initiative (GWLI) at the Woodrow Wilson Center


NML has partnered with the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative (GWLI) at the Woodrow Wilson Center on a Women’s Leadership Initiative to identify the barriers that women agricultural entrepreneurs face in accessing markets. In November 2014, NML carried out a consultative workshop in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The workshop engaged women entrepreneurs; industry leaders, business owners, government officials, academia, and development cooperation stakeholders in a conversation centered on the issues (including legal and regulatory) that women face in agribusiness.

The World Bank


New Markets Lab worked with the World Bank to develop a set of interventions and partnerships that could turn India’s transport corridors into a dynamic, market-led development system that would create opportunity in rural areas, reduce poverty, and sustainably improve livelihoods. These “development corridors” would stem from a transport infrastructure network and span out to include investments and interventions, particularly focused in the agricultural sector, designed to generate economic opportunity for rural areas. The India corridors project incorporates legal and regulatory aspects of transport corridor development that are often overlooked, including a regulatory assessment that includes both widespread measures (such as investment promotion schemes) and more specific legal and regulatory factors along value chains such as spices and horticulture in the Indian district of Rajasthan.

Harvard Law & International Development Society and Trade and Innovation Initiative and Georgetown Law & International Development Society


The New Markets Lab serves on the Advisory Boards of the Law & International Development Society (LIDS) of Harvard Law School and Georgetown University Law Center, both of which are student-run organizations focused on issues at the intersection of law, policy and international development. LIDS was founded in light of the growing recognition that many pressing challenges in international development are legal in nature. Since 2011, the New Markets Lab has supervised teams of students researching legal and regulatory issues related to market development. NML President Katrin Kuhlmann co-founded the Trade Innovation Initiative (TII) through Harvard LIDS to engage students in grassroots market challenges, which have implications for development of national, regional, and international legal and regulatory systems governing market activity. Through TII, NML has supervised Harvard LIDS students on projects designed to facilitate understanding the legal and regulatory challenges around cooperative financing and the recently established East Africa commodities exchange in support of its partnership with FAIM (Forestry and Agricultural Investment Management) in Rwanda; work with Rumi Spice, a small and growing business based in Afghanistan that exports high quality, sustainably farmed saffron to U.S. consumers by sourcing directly from rural Afghan farmers and reinvesting its profits in developing the agricultural and manufacturing infrastructure in Afghanistan; and highlight challenges along the asparagus value chain in Lesotho, particularly those related to trading fresh produce regionally and internationally, in partnership with the Kingdom Asparagus Project of New Caledon.


Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA)


In 2017, NML completed a Legal and Regulatory Review for a Comprehensive Contract Farming Legal Framework to Support Value Addition and Agro-processing in Ethiopia through the Micro-reforms for African Agribusiness (MIRA) initiative. NML supported the ATA and other relevant government agencies’ policy efforts through the completion of a diagnostic analysis and a roadmap for improved implementation of the legal and regulatory framework surrounding contract farming. This project exemplifies NML’s approach to concrete change in the legal and regulatory environment since the diagnostic resulted in a draft proclamation (Proclamation to Provide for Agricultural Production and Marketing Contracts), which has moved forward since the project, that was tailored to Ethiopia and informed by best practices from other countries’  laws. The project also exemplifies the collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors.

Alliance for African Partnership (AAP)

With support from a planning grant from Michigan State University’s AAP, NML worked with a coalition of organizations to create the Partnership for Enabling Market Environments for Fertilizer in Africa (PEMEFA) in May 2017. PEMEFA is a consortium of five US- and Africa-based, internationally-focused institutions (the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), Michigan State University (MSU), NML, and the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI). PEMEFA’s primary goal is to facilitate the transformation of African agriculture and smallholder farmers’ livelihoods by improving access to and use of fertilizers through comprehensive, relevant, and robust national and regional fertilizer policies and regulatory frameworks.  In 2018, PEMEFA concluded the planning grant period by finalizing a proposal and budget for a second phase of project work. PEMEFA is continuing to seek opportunities to scale our research. For more information about the consortium, click here

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