Programme Design

Making Markets Work Better for the Poor (Design), Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia (ADB, DFID) 2003-2007

    M4P is a three year regional technical assistance project co-financed by the ADB, DFID (UK) and the Tokyo-based ADB Institute. The underlying rationale for the project is that well-functioning markets can play a critical role in driving growth and poverty reduction. Efficient markets lower coordination costs and transactions costs in an economy and may improve resource allocation and linkages between different market players - including the poor. By providing opportunity for improved incomes and social advancement, markets can complement, at no cost to the public budget, the poverty reduction impact of national poverty reduction strategies including targeted programmes and service delivery. But markets don't always work that way. Markets may fail. Global value chains may exclude poor producers and consumers. The wrong sequence of market-oriented reforms may actually reduce growth in transitional economies. The purpose of this project is to examine these critical issues more deeply. The project's research findings should promote debate, discussion and better understanding of the policy issues surrounding markets and poverty reduction amongst a wide constituency.

    The purposes of the project are to (a) conduct analytical work on the functioning of markets and the extent to which the poor are able to benefit from them, and (b) to build capacity to support pro-poor market development through research activities, networking and the promotion of policy dialogue in the three project countries.

    The project has three components:

    (1) Research Activities The following research topics are currently under development: The Participation of the Poor in Agricultural Value Chains with case studies drawn from Supermarkets; Food processing and Agricultural Commodities for export (cassava/starch and tea); Participatory Market assessments to investigate the linkages between markets and livelihoods in Urban and Rural Settings in Central Vietnam; Land Markets and Labour Markets

    (2) Capacity Building. The project will also promote capacity development through the use of local research institutes to conduct the research. In addition, for each research topic, there will be a formal linkage with an international "mentor".

    (3) Policy Dialogue. The project will promote policy dialogue relating to market development and poverty reduction. Dialogue will be promoted via a diverse means ranging from conventional workshops and meetings to media articles to an actively managed project website ( In addition, a "champion" in Government will be identified for each research topic to ensure that there is relevance to Government's development priorities. Short policy briefs will be prepared on a number of market related topics to provide support to the policy dialogue,. These readable policy briefs will be prepared from research findings under the project as well as existing international and regional literature and research.

    Below is a summary of the "M4P" concept from DFID. Also below is Volume 1 of the report from the inception workshop of the project. This report presents an edited collection of papers and discussion notes drawn from the start-up events for Making Markets Work Better for the Poor. This document provides an introduction to the issues, with contributions from international academics, Vietnamese research institutes, donor agencies, NGOs, consultants and ADB staff. In the first part of the report, lessons from the transitional economies of Asia are examined. Experience shows that privatisation and price liberalisation do not necessarily lead to efficiency and growth. The critical role of complementary institutions for pro-poor market development emerges as a central issue. Specifically, do the project countries have the right institutions to sustain market development, industrialisation and long term growth?

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Market Assessment
    »Participation of the Poor in the Tea Value Chain Vietnam, M4P (ADB, DFID) 2004
    »Participatory Markets and Livelihoods Assessment, Da Nang City Viet Nam, M4P 2005
    »Facilitating Market Integration of the Upland Poor into Bamboo Value Chains, Viet Nam M4P (ADB, DFID) 2006
    »Linking Farmers to Markets through Contract Farming, Viet Nam, M4P (ADB, DFID) 2005
    »Making Markets Work Better for the Poor (Implementation), Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia (ADB, DFID) 2003-2007