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Survey: 87% of Africa SMEs fear they may not survive crisis

Almost 90% of African small businesses fear they may not survive the #COVID-19 crisis, and need access to practical tools and support to prevent financial loss, according to a recent survey of entrepreneurs by the African Management Institute (AMI).

Of entrepreneurs participating in AMI’s free #COVID-19 Business Survival Bootcamps, 87% are worried about surviving the current crisis, while 67% of those surveyed said business has been hit hard since the introduction of social distancing, lockdowns, and curfews on the continent.

“Practical and applicable tools are essential during a crisis like this,” said Rebecca Harrison, CEO and co-founder of AMI, which has shifted all programmes online and is providing a range of practical tools online for entrepreneurs in addition to the Bootcamp.

“Our two-week virtual Survival Bootcamp provides free online access to downloadable tools to help business owners immediately navigate the crisis. These tools help businesses plan for different scenarios, assess risk in their businesses, and manage their cash-flow and costs.”

Almost 2,500 businesses from over 40 countries across Africa have registered for AMI’s Bootcamps, which introduce entrepreneurs to simple but critical tools to help them survive the crisis and rebound when it eases.

Participants of the bootcamp come from 44 countries but are concentrated in Kenya and Nigeria, followed by South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana.

“At the moment managing cash is very important because I don’t know how long this pandemic will last,” said Kenyan entrepreneur Mary Onyango of Afro Accessories and a bootcamp participant.

“This bootcamp has helped me understand where to focus and how to set my business up to survive the crisis.”

In response to the survey, 62% of SME owners also said that #COVID-19 has had a high impact on customer demand and 49% said their product supply has been highly impacted.

In qualitative focus groups, businesses have indicated that they need help to forecast cash flow, plan for different scenarios, understand how to keep connected to and continue to support their customers, manage costs and determine how to support their team in this time.

It is also clear that Africa’s small businesses urgently need liquidity.

More than 75% of entrepreneurs surveyed believe a loan would help their chances of survival, and just over 50% indicated that small loans of less than US$50k could be the difference between survival and closing down.

The free virtual Business Survival Bootcamp programme includes a 90-minute interactive webinar led by AMI’s expert business facilitators, Online access to two of AMI’s practical tools within the company’s online platform to help implement what entrepreneurs learn in the webinar.

There is also a Risk Matrix Tool to help business owners generate potential coping strategies and a Cash Flow Projection Tool to help them manage business cash flows.

There is also an opportunity to connect with other African entrepreneurs, who are also trying to navigate the challenges of #COVID-19.

Businesses and entrepreneurs can register for the webinars on AMI’s website at

AMI’s full offering of #COVID-19 resources for Africa’s businesses can be found at

Source: Taarifa Rwanda

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