Most of the world’s poorest people live in remote rural areas and depend on subsistence farming to survive. They are often barely able to feed their families, let alone earn a decent income, and have little money to pay for basic rights, such as healthcare and education. As a result, poor rural communities often have high under-five death rates, low literacy levels and a high occurrence of violence against women and girls. It is extremely difficult for these communities to escape poverty. Without training, expertise and access to capital, it can be impossible for businesses to grow; businesses that would provide a stable income and a brighter future for families.
However, most investments in developing countries are focused at either end of a very large spectrum. Many organisations provide support to communities during the very first stages of business activities, providing individuals with very small-scale loans (micro-financing), while others invest in businesses that have already built the capacity to export. In between these two extremes is the ‘missing middle’ for which there is almost no assistance available. Without supporting potential businesses in this ‘missing middle’, families will continue to suffer and Oxfam will never be able to achieve its vision; a just world without poverty.