What is Inclusive Markets Approach?
ADE's inclusive markets work helps develop and scale inclusive business models that create new opportunities and better lives for people in Africa.
Across the developing world, a new kind of business is emerging to serve and benefit the poor. It is
known by many names: market-based solutions to poverty, inclusive businesses, impact enterprises,
social enterprises, or enterprises serving the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP).
Many are giving poor households access to beneficial goods and services, by bringing safe drinking water
to slums, powering villages in deep rural areas, delivering high-quality but low-cost surgical procedures, or
boosting educational attainment at affordable prices. Others are enhancing the livelihoods of the poor by
raising the earnings of smallholder farmers, or giving more consistent and better-paid work to rural artisans.
Meanwhile, impact investors, foundations, aid donors, and increasingly, governments are banking
on these businesses to grow and flourish, and generate both financial returns and social impact on
a large scale.
While it is exciting that innovations like these are emerging, most of these solutions are still operating
at low levels of scale. We believe that scale is important because the problems of global poverty
are vast: billions of people around the world live in poverty and suffer its consequences. Wherever
market-based solutions have impact and are commercially viable, we want to see them scale up so that
they can make a significant difference to more of these people.
Our approach is simple. We begin by taking a closer look at the challenges of scaling. Why aren’t more market-based solution models scaling? What barriers do they face? Where market-based solutions have achieved scale, how has this been achieved? By addressing these questions, we help:
• Philanthropic foundations, aid donor agencies and multilateral development institutions, to create
greater impact on the problems of poverty in Africa, by directing and modulating their resources most
effectively to accelerate market-based solutions to scale;
• Nonprofits and other mission-driven intermediaries working in Africa with market-based solutions, to
enhance their effectiveness and understand them within a wider continental context;
• Impact investors, to enhance the way they select and manage investments to deliver desired financial
returns and social impact;
• Governments, to understand how their laws, policies and actions can influence the development of
market-based solutions, for better or for worse; and
• Companies, both large and small, to improve their chances of success at scaling innovative solutions
to benefit the lives of the poor in Africa.