Refugees Corner-shops in Uganda

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Corner-shops have paramount importance of operating as a gateway to communities specially during the difficult time of the pandemic. The mitigation measures that were taken by the government to slow down COVID-19 is presumed to affect the daily operation of the retail shops. To study this effect and assess the financial data of retail businesses, L-IFT has launched a Corner-shop project in different countries including Uganda in Kiryandongo and Nakivale refugee camps. Participants in this project report their income, expenses, savings and loans using Finbit App. In addition to these financial reports, they also respond to a small survey on COVID-19 using the App. This article focuses on income and expense data reports from 40 participants. 

On the survey of COVID-19 questions, they were asked “How much has COVID-19 affected their income/work”. The result shows that the vast majority has reported to have a little less work/income due to COVID-19.

Figure 1: COVID-19 effects on work/income

This effect could be seen on the below graph where the average monthly income shows a decline after lock-down started. By the end of August the decline had almost been recuperated, but by the end of October it declined again.

Figure 2: Average Monthly Income

Comparing income and expense, their reported expenses seem to be below their income level (see the red line in below graph). It shows that respondents on average have a positive income balance throughout the interview period. However, the positive balance was significantly higher before Covid-19 pandemic started.

Figure 3: Average Expense Amount

Overall, there is a only a modest decline in income on average which is probably due to the fact that, retail shops of essential goods were allowed to remain open during the lock-down. However, this does not reflect the challenges faced by corner-shops in other areas such as price, supply, products that are hard to find…etc. which we would look into further in coming blogs.