Simply negotiating good trade policies is not enough to secure equitable and sustained economic growth. There is also a clear need for the implementation of a whole set of related macroeconomic policies and support for the private sector. The limited success of structural adjustment programmes has also highlighted this need. Providing such policies and support enables developing countries to reap the benefits of trade liberalisation and integration into the global economy. Similarly, it is important to focus on local economic development (LED). Improved conditions for economic growth and employment can be created when the public, business and non-governmental sectors work together. In doing so, Imani takes into consideration the local contexts, accounting for ‘unique’ factors to each case.

Imani Development has been employed in projects relating to economic policy at national, provincial and local government levels. Services provided by Imani on such projects have included:

  • critical assessments of macroeconomic policy; of the role of the private sector in national economies; and of sectorial policies such as transport and education
  • assignments in LED in Eastern and Southern Africa, the Pacific and less developed areas of the EU
  • analysis of the opportunities for social and economic infrastructure development
  • SME investment proposals across the board, relating to investment climates, finding alternative sources of finance for various sectors

Select projects by Imani consultants:

UNDP – Mid Term Evaluation of the African Facility for Inclusive Markets Regional Project (2013) The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) African Facility for Inclusive Markets (AFIM), which was set up in 2010, is working to reduce poverty and accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by supporting pro-poor economic growth and inclusive market development. AFIM’s strategy seeks to provide low-income people with the tools and resources to lift themselves out of poverty through private sector initiatives at the regional and country levels. Imani Development was contracted to deliver the scheduled Mid-Term Evaluation 18 months after the establishment of the AFIM.

Imani Development Foundation, Social Enterprise Academy – Africa (2012 – ongoing) The Imani Development Foundation, in partnership with the Scottish Social Enterprise Academy, has established a Social Enterprise Academy in Africa (SEAA). SEAA offers leadership, enterprise, and social impact training aimed at supporting and encouraging innovation and personal development of African social entrepreneurs. The Academy will deliver courses to the public, private, as well as the social economy sector with specially tailored programmes to promote in-house learning.

DFID – Business Innovation Facility (BIF1) (2010-2013) & BIF2 (2013 – 2018) The Business Innovation Facility (BIF) (2010-2013), a DFID-funded pilot project in five countries, was managed in both Malawi and Zambia by Imani Development. The BIF pilot was set up to achieve pro-poor impact through “inclusive business’, i.e. by providing technical assistance to the private sector initiatives that were both commercial and also significantly included the poor in the value chain. In Malawi, Karen Smith is the BIF Country Manager, and she led a team of consultants and expert subcontractors to deliver 26 projects from 2010-2013. The Imani team also contributed to BIF knowledge sharing through blogs and a wide range of outputs shared on the Practitioner Hub.

The second phase of the project (2013-2018, £5M) is being implemented with a market systems approach. For the past six months the BIF Malawi team has been conducting research to select markets that have potential for growth and for delivering increased incomes or welfare benefits to the poor. The project will provide consultancy support to selected market players to test innovations that unlock market constraints. Where these are successful, BIF will facilitate the wider uptake of these new business models to ensure that the market change becomes sustainable.

World Food Programme – Feasibility Assessment of the Production of Nutri-Butter in Malawi (2013) Imani produced this feasibility assessment for the World Food Programme. The consultancy consisted of a sector analysis of soya, sugar, milk and groundnuts, with particular emphasis on how smallholders can link to markets, supplying high quality produce. The assessment also produced three business scenarios looking at short term immediate needs and progressing to a long term vision with sector development at its heart.

Innovations Against Poverty Programme (2010 – 2013) This programme is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and was launched in Uganda and Kenya by Imani Development East Africa.  The purpose of IAP is to encourage the private sector to develop innovative solutions, products, services and inclusive business models that can benefit the people at the base of the pyramid and contribute to fight poverty and climate change.  Imani Development also manages the IAP in Zambia, including the identification of businesses that can benefit from the IAP support, business support, and the organisation of promotional events.

Development of a National Export Strategy for Malawi (2011 – 2012) Imani helped the Government of Malawi to develop the Malawi National Export Strategy 2013-2018. Imani’s staff were embedded in the Ministry as Technical Assistants for the duration of the formulation phase, which lasted a year. Imani helped conduct rigours economic analysis to identify priority growth clusters and reform areas. The cluster work was based on an application of the Hausmann and Rodrik Product Space Model to Malawi. As part of this work, Imani conducted a review of Cross-Cutting Export Enablers and an Institutional Capacity Assessment. Imani also facilitated all consultations for the strategy, including the provision of support for the NES’ Steering Committee and its 6 Sub-Committees. On the back of these consultations, Imani worked with the Ministry’s NES Internal Team to develop resourceable and implementable action plans for the prioritized cross-cutting and cluster actions.

Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) (2008-2011)The AECF was a multi-donor challenge fund based in and focused on Africa. The AECF awarded grants and non-recourse loans, through an open competitive process, to private firms (or consortia led by them) for pro-poor, innovative, commercially sustainable projects developed by the applicant firms and to be implemented by those firms (or consortia). The goal of the AECF was to promote pro-poor growth in Africa, thereby increasing employment, livelihood opportunities and incomes, and reducing poverty. Its purpose was to catalyse private sector entrepreneurs in Africa to innovate and find profitable ways of improving market access and functioning for the poor – especially in rural areas.