Final Documentation

Making Service Markets Work for the Poor in Uganda, by Jim Tanburn and Regina Kamuhanda, 2005

    The idea of developing service markets has attracted much attention in recent years, as a way to leverage the public funds available, and to ensure that they achieve maximum impact in the long term. While subsidies may be needed to reach the poorest of the poor, current approaches tend to lack precision; they may even be displacing local initiatives in the private sector. This Paper therefore considers what service markets have achieved in Uganda, the extent to which they are meeting the needs of the poor, and how these achievements could be enhanced, both in terms of improved service quality and in terms of greater outreach.

    Some service markets, such as commercial radio, financial services, and telecommunications, have developed in very interesting ways, thanks partially to careful policy-making and regulation.

    Other service markets, such as agricultural extension and training, are still largely characterised by publicly funded provision running in parallel with sustainable provision by the private sector.

    Secondary education, primary health and public transport are somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum. This Paper considers all of these service markets.

    Key recommendations include:
    - the demonstrated need for cross-sector approaches to service market development, to achieve greater impact and leverage
    - the opportunity for donors and others to promote consumer education, and dissemination of information, to consumers of services, and to support industry-wide bodies of service providers in developing and implementing codes of conduct
    - the opportunity for stakeholders to develop synergies with larger companies willing to adopt new business models, in order to serve the poor on a larger scale

    Click on the link, top right, to access the full report.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    »Business Services Market Development, Uganda, DFID/ILO, 2004-5