Trade and Market Access


Creating jobs at the Bottom of the Pyramid.


Decent work and economic growth Life on land


Global Social Business Competition 2013




Gabrielle Snijder, Manuela Hug, Estee Hak, Nadege Ruzicka



Out of the 7 billion people on our planet, 1.4 billion still live in extreme poverty, meaning they have to survive on less than US$1.25 a day. Worldwide, 70% of those extreme poor live in rural areas (World Bank, 2012) – most of them in developing countries. Given the forecasts of a 50% increase in the population by 2050 (IFAD, 2011), of which the majority will be in developing countries, the fight against rural poverty can no longer be postponed. Poverty in rural areas has several causes. One of the most prevalent causes is the lack of infrastructure. Without proper transport and access to information systems like the Internet, markets cannot work well and thus business opportunities and subsequent jobs at the bottom of the pyramid are limited.


Imagine a farmer producing a good that he (or she) would like to sell. Due to the large distance to the market he not only has to solve the challenge of transportation but he also does not know if he can find a buyer or what price he can ask for his goods. To overcome his problem, he relies on a “middleman” who buys the goods from the farmer and resells it with a profit margin. This significantly reduces the potential profit for the farmer and also makes him dependent on the middleman. In a nutshell, the basic mechanism of efficient markets – the free exchange of goods and services – cannot work efficiently in rural areas as most of the people neither have direct market access nor transparent information. Without these efficient market structures, people are not only unable to fulfil their basic needs but also have no incentives to produce more if they believe they will not sell it. Under these conditions, businesses cannot advance and subsequent job creation is hindered. Without economic development, investments in improving infrastructure and living standards cannot be realized. Hence, finding a solution to improve this market situation is key in order to fight rural poverty and improve future perspectives for its people.