Dr. Abdoul Karim Murekezi, who hails from Rwanda, was enrolled in the PhD program at Michigan State University in the Department of Agricultural Economics when he was selected for the Borlaug LEAP Fellowship in Spring 2006. Dr. Murekezi’s research evaluated the impact of two business models of technical assistance (one cooperative based and the other private enterprise based) on income growth and other poverty alleviating indicators for smallholder coffee growers in Rwanda. The objectives of his research were to analyze the trends of coffee sector of Rwanda with respect to market liberalization reforms and assess the impact of two business models of technical assistance on income growth and other poverty outcomes for coffee growers. In addition, he examined the issue of member commitment when cooperatives and investor owned firms are competing in the procurement of raw coffee.
Dr. Scott Loveridge at Michigan State University and Dr. Nicholas Minot at the International Food Policy Research Center (IFPRI) both served as mentors for Dr. Murekezi during his fellowship period. He spent time at Michigan State University, in Rwanda, at the IFPRI offices in Washington, DC, and in Ethiopia under the supervision of his IFPRI mentor, conducting research for his thesis.
Dr. Murekezi completed his PhD in 2009 and currently works as a consultant for HarvestPlus, an IFPRI organization.