The Art of Market Facilitation: Learning from the Financial Sector Deepening Network

Seven case studies along with guidelines on an effective market systems approach

The Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) or market systems approach recognizes that, often, poorly functioning market systems - those that are uncompetitive and unresponsive to consumer and producer needs - have a disproportionately negative impact upon the poor. To address this, the M4P approach identifies the underlying causes of why markets are not working for the poor and, in response, intervenes to address critical constraints in the market system to facilitate change that will sustainably improve the lives of poor people.

This paper synthesizes what has been learned by the Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Network, as captured in seven case studies from Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper is organized into four high-level groupings of questions or statements highlighting primary considerations for effective facilitation:

  1. The basics of effective market facilitation; 
  2. The need for independence, technical rigor and credibility;
  3. Identifying the right partners and developing sustainable interventions;
  4. The imperative of monitoring market system change and responding effectively.

The purpose of this paper is to provide guidelines on some key, practical questions facing facilitators. The paper examines the wider lessons and challenges that emerge for organizations addressing the dilemmas of developing financial markets for the poor, and how they differ significantly from other conventional approaches.


About this Publication

By Ledgerwood, J.