Initial baseline studies showed that the business community of Bangladesh Kenya had a large capacity for trade that was not being utilized due to a lack of an exchange medium. Following several weeks of registrations and Bangla-Pesa deliveries, 109 members received their Bangla-Pesa and were ready to trade their excess capacity. One week after the initial launch of the Bangla-Pesa, a follow-up interview with 49 Bangla-Pesa users was done.
On average, business owners reported using around 70 Bangla-Pesa a day for purchases at 4 other member businesses. However, of those surveyed, 12 reported not yet using the Bangla-Pesa. If we assume these usage rates are the same for all 109 individuals using Bangla-Pesa, 82 people were likely actively using a total volume of 5,740 Bangla-Pesa daily.
Business owners also reported receiving 65 Bangla-Pesa a day at their businesses from around 4 other members. This suggests member businesses were both spending and receiving Bangla-Pesa at a similar rate and from a similar number of individuals. And, in fact, they tended to be both buying and selling goods from a very nearly the same group of 4 businesses. Each trade was for items valued at between 5-170 Ksh, with an average of 34 Ksh.
The vast majority of members using the Bangla-Pesa felt that their business was benefiting from the vouchers. 83.33% reported that their total sales were increasing, and only 2 people (0.05%) reported decreases in sales.
Average daily sales in Bangla-Pesa represent 22% of the total daily sales reported by businesses in the baseline survey. At the very least, then, businesses were doing around 22% of their trades in Bangla-Pesa. However, this number remained the same for those businesses who reported that their sales in Kenyan shillings had remained stable. This suggests the 22% of daily trades done with Bangla-Pesa represent additional sales which might not have happened without this means of exchange (at least for those 12 people whose sales in Kenyan shillings remained the same). And, since most people reported an increase in total sales, it seems likely they are experiencing a similar increase in sales.
Should this program continue in a similar manner, we expect to see an overall increase in local market stability. The fundamental driver of this stability and increase in trade is due to the member’s ability to trade their excess capacity. For instance a bicycle operator may have the capacity for 20 customers, but in general only has 10. Now he can give rides to those businesses in exchange for goods and services they have in excess, such as a woman who has extra tomatoes to sell. This increases the overall efficiency of the market and helps the community weather poor economic periods.