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The real value of chocolate: Oxford students explore development economics

EF Academy Oxford students attended a talk prepared by Dr. Maria Faraone, a Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Studies at Oxford Brookes University, who had been invited to share her research with students on the International Relations, Politics, Law and Economics Pathway, together with those students on the Business, Finance and Management Pathway.

EF Academy Oxford and Oxford Brookes University have strong links, with students attending lectures and events on a regular basis and also enjoying privileged access to the extensive and modern university library just across the road from the school campus. Maria came to talk to students as part of an Economic Development Day School aimed at IB and A-Level students. Maria was able to share her first-hand experience of her work in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. She worked as an architect on projects providing new housing for families displaced through the development of gold mines.

Maria explained how the gold mining companies seek out to make cutbacks on the quality of housing, just at the time they were finding more gold in the area. She continued this theme when looking at the cocoa market. Maria revealed that while a 10kg bag of cocoa beans yielded only 80 cents for the poor farmers, the real value was over $80 on the market.

A lively discussion ensued and students were extremely positive about the discussion. As a follow-up, interested students were invited to attend development seminars at Oxford Brookes University in the future.

The students thought the talk was really enlightening, helping them understand the difference in values between a good that leaves a country as a primary product and one that ends up being sold as a manufactured good all over the world like chocolate. Everyone was very impressed with the level of discussion and the prior knowledge that students had of the issues in development economics.


Originally published on February 1, 2018.

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