Eleni Gabre-Madhin is working to build Ethiopia's first commodities market. Re-establishing the profit motive for farmers, she believes, could help turn the world's largest recipient of food aid into a regional food basket.

Why you should listen

Economist Eleni Gabre-Madhin has ambitious vision -- to found the first commodities market in Ethiopia, bringing rates and standards (not to mention trading systems, warehousing and data centers) to the trade of crops.

Gabre-Madhin left her earlier job, as a World Bank senior economist in Washington, DC, in part because she was disturbed by the 2002 famine in Ethiopia -- after a bumper crop of maize the year before. With prices depressed, many farmers simply left their grain in the field in 2001. But when the rains failed in 2002, a famine of 1984 proportions threatened the country. Her dream: to build a market that protects the African farmer, who is too often living at the mercy of forces beyond his or her control.

The director of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Madhin studies market reforms, market institutions, and structural transformation in Africa, and works to create "a world free of hunger and malnutrition."

Eleni Gabre-Madhin’s TED talks

Eleni Gabre-Madhin on the TED Blog
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The Market Maker: Eleni Gabre-Madhin

July 31, 2009

Following up on economist Eleni Gabre-Madhin’s 2007 TEDTalk on Ethiopian markets comes an episode from PBS’ award-winning documentary series Wide Angle titled “The Market Maker.” Anchor Aaron Brown traveled to Ethiopia and toured the country with Gabre-Madhin, where he witnessed the trials faced by her Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, and the effects of the system on […]

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4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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Archive: Eleni Gabre-Madhin on TED.com

August 12, 2008

For the next week, we’re presenting some of our favorite TEDTalks from among the 270+ talks and performances we’ve posted since June 2006. Look for brand-new TEDTalks starting August 18. Until then, enjoy these gems — and suggest your own by writing to contact@ted.com or joining the conversation on TED.com. At the 2007 TEDGlobal conference […]

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Quotes from Eleni Gabre-Madhin

African agriculture today is among, or is, the most under-capitalized in the world. Only seven percent of arable land in Africa is irrigated, compared to 40 percent in Asia.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin
TEDGlobal 2007 • 386K views Oct 2007
Informative, Inspiring