Case study

Markets in crises: the implications for humanitarian action

August 201742 pages Mali Pakistan South Sudan Asia: South Africa: East, South & Central Fragile and crisis-affected markets Read the report
Published by
ODI

Market outcomes are a significant determinant of livelihood outcomes, and so understanding how crises affect markets and market relations is critical. However, humanitarian actors are thinking about markets mainly because of their instrumental use to aid, rather than as institutions critical to crisis-affected populations in and of themselves. 

This report collates findings across three case studies on what actually happens to the institutions around markets during and after crises, including:

  • the floods in Pakistan in 2010
  • conflict in northern Mali from 2012
  • acute conflict in South Sudan in 2014

It also explores how humanitarian policies and interventions can be best used to maximise the potential of markets to support the household resilience of people living in situations of crises. 

The studies showed that there were often unintended and far-reaching consequences from the way in which aid was delivered, because the potential impact on markets of how aid was organised had not been adequately considered.