My research focuses on the factors that have entrenched poverty in Africa south of the Sahara. I have embraced an international political economy approach to understanding how these factors might be changing in the present era of globalization. Specifically, I am interested in learning more about how new ideas and practices associated with emerging private governance systems for commodities are altering the context for poverty reduction. This focus builds from my doctoral project. For that exercise I employed inductive reasoning and qualitative methods to ascertain the historic relationships that have impoverished Africa’s cotton producers. Field research in Tanzania and Sénégal subsequently enabled me to produce a baseline to evaluate the impacts that various corporate social responsibility initiatives and nongovernmental interventions have had on African cotton farms. Across Africa south of the Sahara many firms that produce commodities are engaging with global discourses and systems that seek to advance business practices that are argued to be more responsible. Concurrently, many African governments are participating in a global effort to improve the effectiveness of official development assistance flows. My new research aims to understand how private commodity governance systems relate to and bear upon the realization of a core principle of this new aid effectiveness and poverty reduction agenda.