Market Systems Development (MSD) reduces poverty by enhancing the ways that poor women and men interact with the markets that provide them with jobs, income and access to services. This page gives access to key documents on the MSD approach.
The BEAM Exchange website hosts a wealth of resources about the MSD approach, including a 4-minute introductory video. BEAM Exchange is supervised by the DCED’s MSD Working Group.
Markets and the private sector provide a direct means for people to participate in economic activity – to find jobs, earn income and access services. All too often, people living in poverty are excluded or disadvantaged by the way that markets operate. MSD is a coherent approach to understanding and intervening in markets so that they perform more beneficially and sustainably for the poor. It works by identifying the root causes of weak or exclusionary performance in particular market systems.
The MSD approach is adaptive: reflecting the dynamic and complex nature of markets. Good monitoring is therefore essential to its implementation. Learn more about how the DCED Standard helps achieve that.
For more specific resources on adjusting MSD programmes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the DCED knowledge page on Adjusting PSD interventions in the short term.
Overview MSD documents
- A synthesis of the M4P approach, Springfield Centre, 2008
- A Systemic Approach to Creating More and Better Jobs, ILO 2019
- Market systems and job quality: what do we know and what can we do about it? ILO, 2017
- Market Approaches that Work for Development, Urs Heierli, 2008
Comparison with other PSD approaches
- Towards Transformational Impact: Synergies of private sector engagement and market systems development, USAID, 2021
- Making Markets Work for Poor – Comparing M4P and Sustainable Livelihood Approach frameworks, SDC, 2008
- Matching Grant Schemes and Systemic Approaches for PSD: Differences and Complementarities, DCED, 2015
Overarching guidelines for MSD funders and implementers
- The Operational Guide for the M4P Approach, The Springfield Centre, 2015
- Managing MSD projects: Internal guidance paper for SDC head office and cooperation office staff, SDC 2019
- Operational Guidance Note: Market Systems Development, DFAT 2017
- Shaping Inclusive Markets. How Funders and Intermediaries can Help Markets Move toward Greater Economic Inclusion, FSG, 2017.
- Guiding principles for donor intervention in business development services, DCED 2001
Cross-cutting insights from MSD practitioner workshops
- Market Systems Development (MSD) Peer Learning Event, Jakarta, November 2016
- Market Systems Development Donor Workshop, Dar es Salaam, November 2016
- USAID Peer Learning Event Case Study and Organisers’ Guide, 2015.
- DCED Report on the M4P Peer Learning Event, 2013. Covered practical issues like how to structure teams, and how to make deals.
It is widely debated whether social and basic services should be free at the point of access, or whether private low-cost services can be a solution where the public system does not work effectively. In the health sector, for example, the first point of contact for low-income groups is often with commercial health care providers, in one form or another. Some therefore suggest to upgrade existing service provision, until it is possible to provide free universal coverage.
Resources in this section explore these debates and provide practical advice for developing inclusive social and basic service markets that work for the poor.
MSD in education programmes
- Do Private Schools Improve Learning Outcomes? Evidence from Within-Household Comparisons in East Africa and South Asia. Comparative Education Review, 2021
- What’s New in the Private Education Pandora’s Box? FP2P blog, 2019
- Can a PPP improve Liberia’s schools? CGD, 2017
- Private non-state sector engagement in the provision of educational services at the primary and secondary levels in South Asia, World Bank, 2014
MSD in health care programmes
- Knowledge Portal on Private Sector for Health, PSP4H programme
- Engaging with Health Markets in Low and Middle Income Countries, DFID, 2014
- Primary Health Care at the Base of the Pyramid. RTT’s Unjani Clinic Model, B4D Pathfinder, 2012
- Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector project website, USAID
MSD in water & sanitation programmes
- The Journey of Changing Water Services Delivery in Kenya, KMT 2019
- Summary of best practices of iDE’s sanitation marketing approach, iDE 2018
- A Market Led, Evidence Based, Approach to Rural Sanitation in India, Monitor Inclusive Markets, 2013
- Tapping the Market: Opportunities for Domestic Investments in Sanitation for the Poor, World Bank, 2013
MSD Programme Websites
See the BEAM Programme Index for more programmes using the MSD approach. Programme evaluations can be found within the profiles in the Index; alternatively, go to the BEAM Evidence Map for a wider list of resources that describe the impact and effectiveness of programmes that use the market systems approach.
- ALCP Georgia: Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme Website
- PRISMA: Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Rural Economic Development (AIP-Rural)
- AVC Bangladesh: Agricultural Value Chains activity
- FinMark: Making Financial Markets Work for the Poor (South Africa) Website
- InovAgro Mozambique: Innovation for Agribusiness
- ILO Lab Website
- Katalyst, Bangladesh (archives from the Springfield Centre)
- Kenya Markets Trust Website
- MADE Ghana: Market Development for Northern Ghana
- MADE Nigeria: Market Development in the Niger Delta
- Making Nigerian Agricultural Markets Work for the Poor (PrOpCom) Website
- Market Development Facility (Fiji, East Timor, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, PNG) Website
- SMSU: Sanitation Marketing Scale-up (Cambodia)
MSD Case Studies
- The story of MSD: achieving sustainable development at scale – 12 examples of market systems development from four continents, 2020
- MDF: Market Development Facility 2019 Annual Report – Australia’s flagship private sector development programme in the Indo-Pacific region, 2020
- Market Development in the Niger Delta (MADE) learning review – promoting inclusive, pro-poor growth for farmers in rural agricultural markets, 2020
- Market Development in Northern Ghana (MADE) programme completion review, 2020
- Facilitating inclusive growth in Ethiopia: think systemically, act strategically, adjust frequently for best results – Enterprise Partners Programme, 2020
- The Art of Financial Market Facilitation: Learning from the FSD Network, 2017
- Working with the mass media to improve educational and employment choices among young people in Albania, by Gavin Anderson for RisiAlbania, 2016
See also BEAM’s 2021 Evidence review for more case studies.
- SDC: Independent Evaluation of SDC’s Performance in Market System Development in Agriculture 2013-2019, 2021 Also Factsheet one-pager
- DFAT: Synthesis review of DFAT-funded Market Systems Development Initiatives, 2019.
- DFAT: Beyond value chains: Emerging lessons from MSD approaches in Australia’s aid programme, 2018.
- Sida: Evaluation of the market systems development approach. Lessons for expanded use and adaptive management at Sida, 2018.
- USAID: Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) Final performance report, 2016.
- SDC: External Review of SDC ́s Program on Rural Market Development in the South Caucasus 2008 – 2012, 2012.
Popular BEAM Exchange webinars on MSD
This section provides quick links to some of the most viewed webinars on MSD organised by the BEAM Exchange. To view BEAM’s full library of past webinars, click here.
- Get started on assessing system change, 2022
- What results did the MSD approach deliver? A review of the latest evidence, 2021
- #Digital4MSME: using the market systems approach for digital transformation, 2021
- Adapting MSD to fragile and conflict-affected situations, 2021
- Rebuilding fragile markets with unconventional MSD partners, 2021
- How to do MSD procurement: practical insights from donors and implementers, 2020
- Contrasting commercial agri-extension success in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria, 2020
- Top-down or bottom-up? How development actors can promote Economic Transformation, 2020
- Extreme poverty alleviation using MSD, 2018
Photo credits: Katalyst; freedigitalphotos.net; Mirko Eggert/ flickr.com; Paul Prescott/ 123rf Stock Photo; Joseph King/ flickr.com