Value chain promotion is considered a key element of private sector development strategies and pro-poor growth. However, (value) chain concepts are rather complex and unclear. This paper unravels the concept of global value chains and studies the diversity of key value chain-related (supply chain, commodity chain, value chain) approaches. To this aim, we reviewed academic literature and donor agencies’ reports, and consulted a limited number of key informants of donor agencies. This paper distinguishes between the strategic management perspective and the development perspective and reviews added values and limitati ons of each approach. The results suggest that practioners use an eclectic approach towards the value chain concept, although the concept originates from clearly distinctive paths and could be susceptible to miscommunication and misuse. The authors avoid misunderstanding by explicitly opting for a public and pro-poor perspective of the concept of the Global Value Chain.

Research Paper