African SMEs’ Performance and Behaviors during COVID-19

Part 2: African Businesses Analysis

This part highlights African business analysis through a parallel survey project. The surveys were administered during the 10 Bootcamps. Each bootcamp ran 2 surveys per day totaling 6 surveys per bootcamp. The following table details the surveys topics and their distribution over the bootcamp days. Depending on the survey’s length it was grouped with other survey topic(s) in order to level out the fatigue level per survey. The surveys were administered in English for English speaking SMEs and in French for French speaking SMEs. It is envisaged that the surveys will be translated in Arabic for encompassing the language barrier for non-English/French speakers amongst future participating African SMEs.

Bootcamp Survey


Survey 1

- Access to Finance

Day 1

- Electricity & Power. - Internet usage, bandwidth and stability - Cybersecurity and security of digital tools

Survey 2

Survey 3

- Human resources - Taxes and government duties - Business continuity plans

Day 2

Survey 4

- Lockdown - Access to health and safety information & services

Survey 5

Day 3

- Negative Perception - Access to reliable information - Government Support

Survey 6

Table 2.1: Survey Topics

Methodology The research project associated with Rollo Africa 2020 Program was coupled with the need to understand which challenges the African SMEs were facing and how did these challenges evolve with the COVID-19 pandemic. For this purpose, a literature review was conducted to assemble typical challenges faced by African SMEs. Meanwhile, a comprehensive survey tool was developed with the help of the literature tracking these challenges, trying to verify which of these challenges remained a topical challenge and which did not. Also, the survey tool tries to uncover how African SMEs faced these challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hereafter, explain the nature of each of these identifed challenges:

● Electricity and Power Supply: Electricity has been reported to be by far the most important obstacle that most businesses in the Sub-Saharan Africa experience when operating and developing their business. Management of energy is signifcant to provide quantitative results and comprehensive information about how and where the energy use afects economic growth and development. This information is necessary to enable African governments to respond promptly with measures that will improve the supply of energy to ensure the proftability and competitiveness of frms. The objective of this paper is to analyse the efect of electric power fuctuations on the proftability and competitiveness of SMEs. ● Access to Financing: The availability of external fnance has been positively associated with the number of startups, an important indicator of entrepreneurship as well as with frm dynamism and innovation. According to research, it appears that access to fnancing is


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