Sunday, April 5, 2009

SMEs - surviving the recession in Africa

Can SMEs survive the recession in Africa? I believe they can.

The secret is to shift away from supplying to other international markets which are contracting, and to focus on the African markets.

They may not always be as sophisticated, and certain markets may not exist, but many SMEs could make the shift to African marrkets.

Large parts of Africa are still growing despite the global financial recession. The improvement in democracy in Africa, although patchy and weak, is happening nonetheless. This is in turn leading to infrastructural investment which is stimulating the markets, together with the demand for commodities with the Chinese gladly assisting in the extraction thereof. Angola is flying as are other countries.

There is obviously credit risk among other forms of risk, but many African governments understand and recognise this, and offer their citizens insurance against the risks associated with Africa. South Africa does.

The secret is to educate Africa into understanding that there is greater prosperity in commerce than in corruption, and it is also more sustainable.

The black African diaspora need to start lobbying to change the African context, and not simply write great stories from the comfort of New York. Come back and make a difference.


Dr Rob Smorfitt

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