The World Bank has a deep commitment in its mission to assist private sector development broadly (e.g., through the activities of the International Finance Corporation or the use of grants to assist rural businesses get started and grow.), and specifically to foster small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, the guidance and suggestions in this site are specifically addressed to enterprises in rural areas, which often face challenges beyond those of their more urban counterparts.
The Rural Investment Climate program provides information about the main obstacles in enterprise development, availability of infrastructure and services, and transaction costs in market linkages in rural areas. The Markets & Agro-enterprises site presents information on how private businesses can drive rural development and increase economic activity to meet social goals. Coordinated supply chains are also important because they create durable business relationships for the mutual benefit of all the parties involved (public and private).
In November 2002, the Bank joined a number of international and bilateral development organizations in launching in Germany a consultation and learning process about approaches to rural economic development with a focus on agriculture-based enterprise development. This process involved representatives from donors, agencies and national governments, field-level practitioners, the private sector and NGOs. Considerable potential for efficiency gains was identified, especially with regard to cooperation between organizations and across different disciplines and backgrounds. The process led to the joint development of an analytical framework for Rural Economic and Enterprise Development - REED. It is based on the analysis of both success factors in rural economic development and lessons learned from failures. For more information on this process visit GTZ.
Please also visit related Bank sites: Rural Finance, Rural Nonfarm Economy and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards.