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The report draws upon a business survey with food retailers to assess the impact of the 'Bamba Chakula' model of electronic food transfers and business contracts.

The Kakuma refugee camps have become popularly associated with entrepreneurship. In 2016, the Kalobeyei settlement was opened 3.5km away from the Kakuma camps, with the intention of promoting the self-reliance of refugees and the host population, and delivering integrated services to both. Its development is guided by the Kalobeyei Integrated Social and Economic development Programme (KISEDP), which offers a range of innovative, market-based approaches to refugee protection that diverge from the conventional aid model implemented in Kakuma.

Bamba Chakula shop in Kakuma. Credit: WFP/M. Karimi

This report aimed to study the food market, a sector of particular interest because of its significant part of economic life in refugee camps. Kakuma is currently undergoing a gradual transition from in-kind food assistance to cash-based assistance, and as an interim step, it has introduced a food provision model called Bamba Chakula, a programme designed by World Food Programme (WFP).

Drawing upon quantitative and qualitative research, including a survey of 730 entrepreneurs, we examine the role Bamba Chakula status, among other factors, has played in influencing business performance and market structure.