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ÉLAN RDC worked primarily within production-focused markets but found surprising successes in consumer-focused sectors while facing a number of unexpected obstacles.

This paper explores the path less taken, consumer-­focused sectors, and argues that they should be part of any programme mix. The more chaotic and fragile the state, the more it makes sense to include consumer sectors, including basic services.

The paper explores:

  • the historical reasons for the M4P bias towards production and examines the sectoral divide of development funding which influences sector selection
  • case studies to illustrate the potential benefits of consumer markets and basic services, exploring ELAN’s experience in the renewable energy sector as well as examples in health and WASH 
  • the case for the expansion of M4P programmes towards consumer markets which can drive scale of impact and expand beneficiary segments but which can be hindered by restrictive measurement frameworks which focus on accounting for income growth but are less comfortable with savings