Started in 2011, the Cracking the Nut® conferences are participatory learning events designed to crack the “tough nuts” in international development. Since the beginning of Cracking the Nut®, Connexus has organized ten conferences throughout the world.

Traditionally, the conference has relied on a mix of private and public sector ideas to address the most pressing challenges in agricultural value chains and facilitating access to finance, as well as addressing concerns about related issues, such as food security. In 2019, we focused on balancing public concerns for food security with private, market-based solutions. For more information on the conferences, please see below.









2017 Banner 650px



  • CTN_photo_01
  • CTN_photo_06
  • CTN_photo_05
  • CTN_photo_04
  • CTN_photo_03
  • CTN_photo_02

Cracking the Nut 2019 took place on October 14-15, 2019 in Dakar, Senegal and provided a demand‐driven, collaborative learning space where participants shared experiences and best practices on innovative approaches to expanding agricultural production, increasing rural incomes and the poor’s access to nutritious food and clean water. For more information visit

Cracking the Nut 2018 took place on June 12-13, 2018 in Antigua, Guatemala and focused on encouraging the uptake of new technologies for agriculture and access to finance, in a way that promotes resilience.  Connexus Corporation worked with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Chemonics International to organize a two-day event, which highlighted the broad range of technologies and approaches available to mitigate and adapt to global changes related to rural and agricultural development. For more information visit

Cracking the Nut 2017 took place in March 27-28, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand and focused on how to reinforce food systems to meet urban demand.  It raised awareness of the  changing demographics impacting global demand and supply for food and highlighted how food systems are transforming through linking rural to urban markets and responding to changing food preferences, especially in urban areas. For more information, visit the Cracking the Nut 2017 webpage.  Or join our Cracking the Nut Newsletter here.

The first-ever Cracking the Nut Health conference brought almost 200 participants from 25 countries to discuss mHealth innovations, the role of frontline health workers, private sector engagement, data access and ownership, and many more thought-provoking quandaries in this ever changing world. The Cracking the Nut Health 2016 Publication can be found here. Connexus welcomes your ideas for future themes and venues. Please contact to make suggestions, participate in the Advisory Committee, or sign up for our mailing list here.


Cracking the Nut Publications

Following every Cracking the Nut conference, Connexus writes a publication which synthesizes the main lessons learned and highlights innovative approaches and technologies presented at the conference. Below are links to past publications.