Reactions and outlook to COVID-19 in Southern Africa – October 2020

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The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through its sub-regional office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) and the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), together with International Economics Consulting Ltd. jointly carried out a survey on the economic impacts of COVID-19 on businesses across Africa.

First analysed for the African continent as a whole (the global report can be accessed here), results were further examined for the Southern African region.

The regional focused report shows that although the top three challenges faced by Southern African businesses with COVID-19 are the same as for the rest of Africa, both the order and importance of those challenges change significantly. It should also be emphasised that in an attempt to overcome the crisis nearly 69% of the companies operating in Southern Africa have identified new opportunities in reaction to the crisis (slightly higher than in the rest of Africa, 62%). Companies have very innovative ideas to grow their operations and services. Most of the ideas are related to cloud technology and online platforms. In addition to regional comparisons, the report disaggregates most of the results based on gender. Interesting, it highlights that companies headed by women seem to have been more active and vocal in reaction to the crisis. For example, it is interesting to note that a greater proportion of businesses headed by women (as compared to those headed by men) contacted financial institutions to address their financial needs. Similarly, women business leaders in the Southern African region have also been more active in raising concerns with the Government on competition issues arising from the crisis.

We invite you to check out more on the survey results here.