This briefing note reviews the market systems development approach, and how it can help inform trade and investment policies and programmes. While it has a wider application, it has been commissioned by the BEAM Exchange in response to DFID’s Bilateral Aid Review published in December 2016. The review articulates DFID’s high ambitions for turbo-charging trade through a bold package of pro-poor trade policy, embedding development within UK trade policy, and encouraging job-creating foreign direct investment (FDI) in frontier markets – including through the new ‘Invest Africa’ programme. DFID’s increased focus on trade and job-creating investment was further reinforced in DFID’s Economic Development Strategy published at the end of January 2017.
The purpose of this note is two-fold: (i) to discuss possible priorities for DFID in using trade and FDI to tackle poverty in low-income countries; and, (ii) to explore how the key tenets of the market systems approach could help increase the prospect of DFID’s and others’ trade-related policies and programmes contributing to sustained economic development and poverty reduction.