Imagine walking into the neighborhood grocery store to buy a jar of chunky peanut butter. As you enter the store, you are stunned to discover that the aisles have been rearranged. Instead of familiar product groups, the displays are organized by manufacturer—Procter & Gamble, General Foods, Del Monte, Kraft, and so forth. What should have been a simple shopping excursion has now become a bizarre hunting expedition, where success rests on a combination of dogged determination and hours spent watching CNBC. Who manufactures peanut butter? Which company makes chunky peanut butter? And who makes chunky peanut butter in a recyclable plastic tub?

Several U.S. government agencies, development finance institutions, and Washington, DC–based ...

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