As ELAN RDC seeks to support the development of pro-poor market systems by working through economic actors, many of its targeted beneficiaries can be found in areas of crisis characterized by thin markets, a weak private sector and heavy humanitarian presence.

The nature of those markets makes it difficult to identify viable private-sector partners to work with in the hopes of generating market system changes. In that context humanitarian actors present an alternative and key economic player to work with. Here, failure to consider and to engage the humanitarian industry would be to miss the bulk of the market.

Having formerly failed to identify viable partners to work with the Kasai, the large-scale arrival of humanitarian actors in Kananga (Kasai Central), after the Kamina Nswapu chieftaincy conflict (started in 2016), offered ELAN RDC an opportunity to expand its activities in the province; capitalising on their investments and activities to revive the local market.

The strategy was later expanded at national level to include Tanganyika and the Kivus.


ELAN’s MIC strategy was designed to expand ELAN’s traditional sector activities to Markets in Crisis (Kasai, Tanganyika, Kivu), capitalizing on the strong humanitarian presence to generate Market System Changes.

ELAN came to view the aid industry under two lights in DRC:

1.Aid actors, whether humanitarian or development, are key economic players in DRC and attractive consumers for the private sector

  • Aid actors can be leveraged by the private sector for market entry and product/brand visibility

  • Excluding this community from a Market System Development intervention could erode progress made by the programme

2.After 25 years of aid assistance within a context that continues to deteriorate, assistance needs reform.

To this end ELAN adopted the following strategy:

Established proofs of concept with and for humanitarian agencies:

  • Worked with a private sector partner to demonstrate humanitarian benefit of market-oriented solutions

  • Worked with private sector partners to expand services to aid heavy areas and promote innovation for the humanitarian sector

  • Accompanied humanitarian actors to pilot market-oriented approaches

Facilitated replication among agencies and within regional industries

  • Showcased the proof of concept and success: Private Sector / Aid Sector Networking Events

  • Bridging information gap between communities and markets through business missions

  • Bridging information gap between communities and markets through market studies

  • Including private sector engagement in aid coordination platforms strategies (National Cash Working Group; Safe Access to Fuel and Energy working group; etc.)

  • Providing guidelines to foster Private/Humanitarian cooperation