Synthesis Documents

Making Markets Work for the Poor: An objective & an approach, ComMark Trust, South Africa, 2004-5

    For What's New visitors, the latest ComMark newsletter has been added to the right hand side. The issue focuses on Lesotho, and examines how garment factories in the country are working to remain globally competitive during the tough trading times the industry is facing. Encouraging signs are the increase in productivity in firms that have signed up for the ComMark / LNDC co-funding training scheme and the increasing recognition of Lesotho as an ethical destination for global outsourcing.

    There is also a Paper about the promise and challenge of making markets work for the poor (MMW4P). Aimed at senior officials in government departments, development agencies and civil society organisations (including business membership organisations and not-for-profit agencies), it is about MMW4P as an objective and an approach. It sets out the rationale for why this should be a priority, building on hard evidence and new thinking and, while not a precise formula, it is a rigorous process and a market development framework to guide analysis and action that...
    - is grounded in where the poor are in markets,
    - understands the complexity of market systems,
    - builds realistic plans for how markets can work more effectively in the future, and
    - sets out to address the key impediments to better functioning markets.

    The paper sets out the broad rationale for MMW4P relative to wider benefits from developing markets and takes an in-depth look at how markets can work for the poor (and how they might not). It brings out the complex realities of market operations, noting that a key reason for the often poor results of many interventions is that they are not grounded in an understanding of this complexity. It then builds on a model of a functioning market, setting out the main questions that should always be considered; and, finally, it summarises key considerations for the way ahead and provides a list of additional resources and reading.

    The paper is not a "how to" manual; this isn't possible given the breadth and scale of the MMW4P challenge. It is a brief strategic guideline; an invitation to organisations to consider their role in the light of the great potential to act to bring about positive market change that can dramatically improve the lives of the poor.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    »Accelerating Shared Growth - Making Markets Work for the Poor in South Africa, ComMark 2006
    Synthesis Documents
    »Sixth Annual Service Markets Seminar, Turin, September 2005 (English/French/Spanish)
    »Making Markets Work (for the Poor)/M4P: Some key links, 2011