Why Markets?

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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 – enterprise is the ladder out of poverty for most poor people, people living in poverty need the private sector to thrive.

The potential of inclusive market development is inspiring but the challenge is great. Our current economic system makes it difficult for inexperienced producers to compete and impossible for socially marginalised groups to secure a fair position in their market. Women and girls are consistently discriminated against and exploited in economic activity.

Our programmes have shown us that more inclusive markets create opportunities for marginalised producers to achieve the most value from their productive activities. We have also seen inclusive markets deliver positive impacts beyond income – more secure livelihoods mean they are better able to cope with shocks and disasters, producers empowered with knowledge are better entrepreneurs, marginalised farmers are using their voices to influence policy makers.

We believe that more inclusive markets can shift the balance of power in favour of marginalised producers and consumers.