Markets are everywhere. Poor women and men engage with them every day as producers, traders, service providers, employees and consumers. Many have the energy and enterprise to succeed, but the dice are loaded against them.
Our current economic system exacerbates inequality, and on top of this shocks and disasters hit the poorest communities hardest. We believe markets that include poor producers hold great potential to address poverty.
Christian Aid understands markets as systems that are dynamic, where market stakeholders respond to the blockages and opportunities that they face. Our programmes have developed a number of approaches that aim to:
- empower marginalised producers to make their livelihoods more resilient
- make the markets they operate within more inclusive.
We believe that only by working across these systems, targeting interventions at the key challenges and opportunities, can we make markets more inclusive and deliver impact at scale.
How we deliver our inclusive markets work is as important to us as what we do - participation and empowerment of marginalised actors is central to our approach - you cannot shift the balance of power in favour of marginalised producers and consumers without it.
Christian Aid works with local partners to make markets more inclusive through:
We support inclusive enterprises in our market systems programme (and in other thematic programmes) by facilitating access to external expertise focused on commercial analysis and technical assistance including business planning. Read more in our Inclusive market development tool (PDF).
Access to finance: We also support enterprises by facilitating access to investment funding for enterprises in our market programmes through our incubator fund, and through the investment platform Access to Capital for Rural Enterprises.
We enable poor women and men to gain access to new markets or obtain greater value for their products and services in existing ones. Read more in our Inclusive market development tool (PDF).
We support inclusive enterprises in our market systems programme (and in other thematic programmes) by facilitating access to external expertise focused on commercial analysis and technical assistance including business planning.
We also support enterprises by facilitating access to investment funding for enterprises in our market programmes through our incubator fund, and through the investment platform Access to Capital for Rural Enterprises. Read more in our ACRE investment guide (PDF).
Evidence-based market advocacy
We tackle the power imbalances in markets that are keeping marginalised actors poor by raising voices on key issues in the business-enabling environment. Read more about the role of government (PDF).
Access to goods and services
We enable poor producers and consumers to access ICT-based information services and off-grid energy solutions.
Empowerment and ownership
We invest in marginalised producers building their understanding and ownership of their market giving them the confidence to be better entrepreneurs, engaging with and influencing powerful market stakeholders.
We bring together market actors from private and public sectors to build ownership of their market challenges and opportunities informally and formally through the Participatory Market Systems Development process (PDF).
Christian Aid has been developing its approach to inclusive market development since 2011 and we now have inclusive markets programmes in over 10 countries.
Our markets work is spread across Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East and ranges from work on the coffee sector in Burundi, dairy in Bangladesh, to shrimp in El Salvador. We also enable access to energy, and information services in order to make livelihoods more resilient and work in lots of countries on a range of agricultural products.
Visit our inclusive markets website to view a range of case studies and recent successes.