ACDI/VOCA won a $5.6 million, USAID-funded Local Business Development (LBD) program to accelerate growth in Ecuador’s border regions. The program will leverage the practical results of recent programs to encourage licit activities in these regions. LBD will connect both private and public sector actors to overcome obstacles for sustained growth, combating physical isolation, lack of knowledge of end-market requirements, difficulty in accessing financing for working capital or investments, and difficulty in attaining economies of scale for profitable participation in value chains.
Ecuador is located between two of the world’s leading producers of coca and cocaine and is faced with the threat of a rapidly growing illicit drug economy. Although Ecuador has sound agricultural production, its high rural poverty levels create a need for targeted economic development to help negate the effects of the narco-economy on rural populations.