Recently, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) completed the first comprehensive study of micro-merchants in Bangladesh engaged in the retail sector, particularly in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). This study addresses gaps in data and contributes to understanding of the market size, the nature of micro-merchant operations and opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship. By providing clear and transparent data on the micro-merchant segment in Bangladesh, the UNCDF hopes to support policy makers, business partners and development partners take greater interest and action on their behalf.
The study finds that almost 2 million people are involved in the micro-merchant retail sector in Bangladesh. While individually their businesses are small, together they transact more than $18,42 billion annually and interact with millions of customers every day. Yet they are an underserved cash-based group largely left out of modern digital payments and other financial services. A key conclusion of this research is the importance of digitization, credit and banking to suit micro-merchant needs.
This research was made possible through UNCDF’s “Merchants Development Driving Rural Markets” project under the Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformation (SHIFT) programme framework for SAARC funded by the European Union under the Poverty Reduction through Inclusive and Sustainable Markets (PRISM) action.