Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
Economic strengthening refers to programs and services that seek to develop the economic capacity of individuals and households, ranging from direct interventions and services aimed at strengthening livelihood assets to systemic interventions and policies designed to bring about social and economic changes that positively impact the economic capacity of poor households. The economic capacity of individuals and/or households refers to the extent to which they have the assets and capabilities needed to protect and improve their livelihoods activities. Livelihood activities include agriculture (either for consumption or market sale), daily labor, petty trading, and bartering. Economic capacity is not only determined by tangible assets (e.g., savings and productive assets), but also includes intangible assets (e.g., good health, ability to work, self-confidence, skills, social relationships, norms). The Bottom Billion is not strictly defined, but for the purposes of this discussion it refers to very poor people, defined as those living on less than US$1.25 a day. Very poor households and individuals have economic capacity that is insufficient to satisfy basic needs, such as food, healthcare, water, shelter, and clothing. Economic-strengthening programs for the very poor aim to improve their economic capacity so that they increasingly become economically self-reliant.