The impact of Covid-19 on small African businesses
Poor countries face huge economic challenges. The pandemic compounded an already bad situation. For years, these countries have cried out for assistance to build infrastructure that supports economic development. In these countries, businesses are relatively small and cannot access finance. Some of these countries are landlocked and therefore the cost of doing business is much higher than in the others.
If we could have a situation where peace reigns in countries, that would be an opportunity to consolidate development efforts.
First is the possibility for countries and companies to start innovating, because small enterprises tend to be agile and able to adapt. For example, some companies we are working with are able to conduct e-commerce and have survived. So, innovation is a possibility in terms of existing value chains or in doing something completely new.
Second, we have an opportunity to rethink how we develop more resilient value chains that can accommodate future difficult situations.
Third is to explore more sustainable production options that, in the long term, are cheaper and environmentally friendly.
The final point is, there is an opportunity for countries to consider their product range. Many countries depend on a single or a few commodities. They could now look at a broader product range as well as diversification of markets. Africa can look at the opportunities that come with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) in terms of value add, within the continent, even as countries look at the global markets.