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Author: Kendrick Foster
Date: Wntr 2020
From: Harvard International Review(Vol. 41, Issue 1)
Publisher: Harvard International Relations Council, Inc.
Document Type: Interview
Length: 1,181 words
Lexile Measure: 1050L

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Dr. Mitslal Kifleyesus-Matschie is the founder of Ecopia, a "social for-profit company" dedicated to promoting sustainable development within the Ethiopian rural community. In her previous career, she worked with the Organization to Prohibit Chemical Weapons to secure ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

What motivated you to move on from your first career in arms control to found Ecopia?

Well, it was connected to my first career. In my first career, I became successful because I convinced a number of African and Latin American nations to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. When I was convincing them to do so, I used to say that "Your country will be peacefully developed with food, cosmetics, medicine, and other applications." In reality, many of these countries made treaties, but they were not able to implement [development] themselves because the international treaties stayed up there, at the government levels, and the small farmers were not making a profit out of it. And I said, "That was the reason I did it from the very beginning. I was just finishing what I started."

Your website describes Ecopia as a for-profit social enterprise. What does that mean, and how does it impact the day-to-day running of the business?

Ecopia is made in a certain way. When you are making a PLC, you need an owner who takes the risk, and I am the one. But in the countryside where we made Ecopia, we first trained the communities and then they developed their own Ecopia suppliers and processors. On each site, they have their own companies, and they sell their products to the center, and they are then exported. The money is one to one to them. We only help them in some areas where they cannot do it, because they are...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A619632566