Global Value Chains in Latin America: A Development Perspective for Upgrading









Karina Fernandez-Stark


Karina is an expert on global value chain analysis, with more than 15 years of experience leading numerous research projects related to economic development and competitiveness around the world. Her consulting is action-oriented, focused on leveraging academic research into tangible sustainable development outcomes and building capacity of policymakers around the world. She has consulted for the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, OECD, UNCTAD, ECLAC, and the African Development Bank amongst others. Karina's areas of expertise cover a wide range of economic sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, mining and services. She is a globally recognized specialist in policy development for trade, competitiveness, skills development, gender and SMEs contributing to more gainful participation of developing countries in the global economy.

Karina authored the highly-cited book “The Global Value Chain Analysis: A Primer” and together with Gereffi & Bamber, she recently published the edited volume "China's New Development Strategies: Upgrading from Above and Below in Global Value Chains." She has published widely on industrial upgrading and social and economic development. Her research continuously brings a policy focus, advising governments on different continents. Karina has conducted numerous Global Value Chains workshops in Africa, Asia and the Americas both online and in-person. She designed and developed a GVC manual in Spanish for economic development researchers in Latin America. Karina is Chilean and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science and a Master’s degree in International Development Policy from Duke University.


Penny Bamber


Penny is a global value chain specialist, with over a decade of experience in research and consulting. Her work focuses on how countries, companies and workers – particularly those in developing countries – can more sustainably compete in the global economy. Her expertise lies in examining global industry dynamics to identify opportunities for different actors to engage, and developing strategies and solutions for them to do so. Widely cited, her work has covered a broad range of sectors and geographies, from inserting marginalized actors into the agricultural and mining industries in Latin America, advising on industrial policy development in the Philippines and identifying nearshoring opportunities in the healthcare sector for Central America, to examining the impact of automation on the future of Chinese industry.

With extensive contributions to the development of the global value chain framework, Penny has authored and contributed to numerous books, reports and journal articles on economic growth and development, circular economy, gender and trade, technology and skills for the future. Recent publications include the edited volume China’s New Development Strategies: Upgrading from Above and from Below in Global Value Chains together with fellow editors Gary Gereffi and Karina Fernandez-Stark. She has consulted and provided policy analysis for national and international organizations, including the World Bank, the OECD, UNCTAD, ILO, the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.  She has led capacity-building programs for policymakers to boost national competitiveness in global trade in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Penny has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chile, a Diploma in Public Policy from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.    


Gary Gereffi

Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Gary Gereffi is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Director of the Global Value Chains Center at Duke University (  He has published over a dozen books and numerous articles on globalization, industrial upgrading, and social and economic development, and he is one of the originators of the global value chains framework.  His most recent books are:  Handbook on Global Value Chains (co-edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert), Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. 2019); and Global Value Chains and Development: Redefining the Contours of 21st Century Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2018).  Current projects include:  (1) the impact of U.S. protectionism on jobs and regional trade agreements; (2) evaluating how the digital economy and Industry 4.0 are likely to affect international business strategies and industrial upgrading; and (3) shifting regional interdependencies in East Asia and North America, with a focus on China, South Korea and Mexico vis-à-vis the United States.

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