Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P)

M4P is an evolving market systems approach to development which aims to strengthen the functioning of markets and the actions of enterprises within them to benefit poor people. M4P is a means to ensure that growth is pro-poor. A full description may be found in the DFID co-sponsored publication A Synthesis of the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) Approach, available here.

Some key principles of M4P:


M4P focuses on systemic action: understanding that markets are interconnected systems (see the graphic below) and that the poor are active market participants, identifying where market systems fail to serve the needs of the poor, and acting to correct those failings.


M4P seeks sustainable change from the outset, driven by active partner engagement and viable, commercial private sector investment.


M4P targets interventions can be scaled up and/or replicated to benefit large numbers of poor people.


In M4P, the development agent adopts a facilitative role that stimulates positive change without being a direct market player, to minimize market distortion.

The key attributes that differentiate M4P as a development approach from other methodologies widely used in the healthcare sector in Kenya are sustainability and the facilitative approach. Most importantly, with significant implications on leveraging donor investment and delivering Value for Money (VfM), successful M4P interventions must be designed to be sustainable in the absence of grants or subsidies (i.e., the intervention can operate as a market entity and generate a surplus on an ongoing basis by employing its own income and market-based capital).​

More information on M4P may be found on the BEAM Exchange.

M4P Donut Graphic

Source: The Springfield Centre