The Center for Economic Initiatives (CEI) uses unique and highly successful economic development know-how, based on an updated Marshall Plan technical assistance approach to increase living standards rapidly.
We are the only organization with these unique capabilities. They can be used in African and other impoverished countries and have been highly effective in recent years assisting industry and farms in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Moldova. The original Marshall Plan used this technical assistance approach to rapidly increase productivity and living standards. This assisted in many underdeveloped countries, including Taiwan, South Korea, Sudan, Iceland, Greece, Iran, and Turkey as well as in Western Europe.
There are two main areas in which CEI is focusing its activities:
- Support for smallholder or subsistence farmers.
- Marshall Plan-type technology missions
One of CEI’s main areas of focus concerns upgrading the economic welfare of smallholder farmers in Latin America and Africa. Here short-cycle cash crops are introduced for export to the United States. This technology can be transferred to Africa for substantially similar exports to Western Europe and elsewhere. This appears to be one of the most promising approaches to these farmers in Africa.
CEI conducts Marshall Plan-type technology missions (study tours) to the United States. This program is ideally suited to be a component of any Clinton Foundation program as it is aimed directly at economic development. Our success in Ukraine confirms that our program of technical assistance is highly applicable in today’s business environment.
CEI economic development missions are modeled on the technical assistance program of the original Marshall Plan. In fact, our active advisor is James Silberman, who created and implemented the Marshall Plan’s technical assistance program in the 1940s. Our main objective is to raise living standards, and we have been very successful in meeting this objective.
In brief, this is how the technology mission program works. We bring decision makers to the United States to see how industry, agriculture, and government operate and open their eyes to new possibilities. People learn best by seeing for themselves what works. They learn about new technologies, products and services that may present opportunities at home. New procedures can reduce costs and improve productivity. For many, they will see more clearly industry trends and changes, thus helping to make decisions regarding the future direction of their organization. In effect, they will have a look into a future that is possible for them.
Most of our efforts to date have been directed at Ukraine although we have also worked with Kazakhstan and Moldova. With Mr. Silberman’s guidance, we have conducted 17 training missions for Ukraine. These were financed by USAID, and results prove that this was one of their most successful programs.
CEI’s economic development missions have brought great benefits to Ukraine.
· CEI has brought 280 Ukrainian business leaders to the U.S. to learn modern management, technology and marketing methods.
· CEI has more first-hand knowledge of the needs of Ukrainian industry and agriculture than any other U.S. organization. Much of this experience is transferable to other developing countries.
· The benefits/cost ratio of CEI programs has been calculated at 18:1. We believe this is outstanding and ultimately the best return on invested dollars of any program implemented there.
· During the 3 years CEI was assisting Kharkiv agriculture, that region moved from 16th place (out of 26) in Ukraine to the top three.
· Through its programs and website (www.ukrainebiz.com), CEI has generated trade opportunities for both Ukraine and the U.S.
· CEI keeps in touch with its Ukrainian participants and offers advice when requested.
· CEI programs have created a favorable image of everyone involved.
USAID has recognized the benefits of this program and made a 17-minute DVD describing it which is viewable on this website. In addition to historical information about the Marshall Plan technical assistance program, there are three case studies from CEI study tours.