Programme profile

MDF: Market Development Facility (Phase 1)

Fiji Pakistan Papua New Guinea Sri Lanka Timor-Leste Asia: South Eastern

Programme Index Listing

Fiji, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste
Main implementer
Cardno Emerging Markets
2011 - 2017
Total budget
US $ 36 million
Annual budget
US $ 6 million avg

MDF (Phase 1) was a multi-country, market systems development programme, working in Fiji, Timor-Leste, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.  MDF supported businesses and other market actors with innovative ideas, investment and regulatory reform that will improve business performance, stimulate economic growth and provide benefits for poor women and men as workers, producers and consumers.

Market systems and interventions

MDF started in Fiji (2011), expanded to Timor-Leste (2012), Pakistan (2013), Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea (2015). In each country, MDF targeted a few Strategic Engagement Areas with the potential to drive inclusive growth. These were sectors or cross-cutting issues in the economy. 

The core of MDF’s implementation was partnerships with businesses. MDF Phase One also implemented a range of other ‘influencing’ interventions that built on partnerships to foster transformational change in the market systems it targeted.

MDF Fiji

In Fiji, MDF Phase 1 worked in Tourism, Horticulture and Export Processing and its focus was on:

  • Encouraging (mostly export-led, but also tourism-led) diversification and commercialisation in agriculture ('turning farming into a business')
  • Creating off-farm employment for those who have left the land (in tourism and in processing)
  • Supporting local entrepreneurship in niche markets (mostly tourism-led, but also export-led)
  • Develop better business services and improve aspects of the Business Enabling Environment. For example, the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji which is the regulatory body responsible for monitoring exports of horticulture produce and issuing import permits for agro-inputs
  • Ensure geographic and ethnic inclusion to expand economic activities in other islands of Fiji and also to encourage more representation of indigenous Fijians in business.

See all MDF Fiji interventions

MDF Timor-Leste

In Timor-Leste, MDF Phase 1 worked in Agribusiness and Greenfield Industries (Tourism and Manufacturing) and its focus was on:

  • Diversifying sectors away from oil and gas and agriculture to others.
  • Diversifying sources of income through alternatives to agriculture
  • Improving the connectivity (e.g. markets, goods, services, and people) within and from outside Timor-Leste.
  • Introduce value addition of local raw materials through greater processing.

See all MDF Timor Leste interventions

MDF Pakistan

In Pakistan, MDF Phase 1 worked in Horticulture, Dairy and Meat and Leather and its focus was on:

  • Rural and regional inclusiveness
  • Increase export competitiveness
  • Broadening the entrepreneurial base
  • Creating opportunities for women

See all MDF Pakistan interventions 

MDF Papua New Guinea

In PNG, MDF worked in Emerging Industries and Services  

  • MDF focussed on four emerging industries and services that help improve access, reduce the costs involved in connecting demand and supply, preserve quality, and in particular cases, increase the safety and mobility of women.
  • MDF also focused on industries and services that will benefit and reinforce better connections all of which generates local employment and income earning opportunities. The four areas include: ICT and Logistics, Local Value Addition, Agricultural Inputs and Services, and Tourism and Hospitality.

See all MDF PNG interventions

MDF Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka MDF worked in Tourism and Related Services and its focus was on:

  • Encouraging diversification of tourism in Sri Lanka: Supporting tourism product development, promotion, better access to locally made products and increasing connectivity to community/experiential tourism providers.
  • Stimulating business activity in lagging areas: Supporting, establishing and promoting growth of business and entrepreneurship in certain regions – particularly those affected by the civil war.
  • Improving ‘Sri Lankan-made’ products for international consumers and markets: Supporting the growth of high quality products (such as horticulture and aquaculture) for international markets to bring in much needed export revenue for the country - reinforcing perceptions of Sri Lanka as a dynamic destination with a rich heritage and good quality of products and services. Creating better information flows to farmers and improving backward linkages for better market access for companies and reduce post-harvest loss.
  • Supporting Sri Lanka’s digital capability: Targeting niche opportunities, promotion, product development, access to better HR skills and a more conducive business environment for international visitors and customers. They require a range of information based products that can be catered by the local ICT industry in Sri Lanka.

To see all MDF Sri Lanka interventions

Aggregated results (by December 2016)

  • $ 7.81 million invested by partners  [alongside $ 2.52 invested by MDF]
  • $ 20.2 million  in new market transactions generated [additional sales/purchases]
  • $ 13.3 million in additional income for 24,170 women and men - arising from 24,170 new income generating opportunities (jobs, farming and small enterprise activities) and 549 full-time jobs in formal employment
  • Benefitting 74,380 members of these households

Based on partnerships signed at December 2016, MDF’s work is projected to result in over US$ 111 million in additional income for 200,000 men and women, including 2,789 FTE jobs. 

For all MDF results please see the MDF Phase One Completion Report

And for detailed reflection on the role of the MSD approach in shallow / thin markets, see 'Promoting systemic change in shallow markets: lessons from MDF Phase One'

Updated January 2019