Browsing: Covid-19 pandemic

SMEs have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic with its attendant lockdowns and disruptions to supply chains, plummeting sales, lost revenue and operational challenges. In response, Ecobank through its Commercial Banking Segment is helping business owners close the digital skills gap within their chosen fields and improve the digital capabilities of their employees. 

Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Group Executive, Commercial Banking for the Ecobank Group says that the pandemic has turbocharged the shift towards digital. She adds that it is essential that businesses adapt so that they are able to compete effectively in today’s rapidly changing landscape.

AfCFTA will diversify exports, accelerate growth and it will competitively integrate into the global economy. This will increase foreign direct investment (FDI), increase employment opportunities and incomes while also broadening economic inclusion.

Projected estimates show that the FTA will increase Africa’s exports by US$560 billion with manufacturing accounting for the lion’s share. While has had limited trade within itself, the agreement will see intra-continental exports increase by 81 per cent and by 19 per cent to non-African countries.

Sports has the ability to change the African countries’ economic landscapse by attract necessary attention especially through tourism.

A case in point is the 2010 World Cup in South Africa which cost the country nearly US$3 billion to organize but whose returns created an enormous intangible legacy and placed the country on a crucial global pedestal.

So important is the sporting sector in Africa that countries like Germany are investing in sports on the continent by targeting the youth who are an asset to the sector.

Equity’s operations in the DRC now constitute 28 per cent of the Group by asset size signalling the company’s positive sentiment on the future outlook of the country. By virtue of the acquisition, Equity also became the largest bank by asset size at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).
Banking penetration in the DRC ranks at the bottom of regional peers, with only 6 per cent of the population holding a bank account. This presents a great opportunity for the Equity Group to leverage on its digital platform and inclusive products to penetrate the market and generate high returns.

The AfDB notes that high commodity prices have played a role in seeing the African economy’s take off but not only so, macroeconomic policies and sustained reform have also helped improved the growth. Other key factors that have contributed to this growth include stronger governance and better conditions for private sector development.
A damper to the rallying growth of the African economy is conflict which remains a concern though incidences have declined which has reduced the contagion for neighbouring countries and boosting investor confidence in many regions.

While African countries have acted quickly to limit the spread of Covid-19, most of them are nevertheless confronting enormous challenges as they strive to keep the pandemic under control and mobilize the financial resources needed to support health systems, protect vulnerable population groups and support the recovery.
After a contraction of 3.4 per cent in 2020-the first in 27 years and the largest on record-Africa is projected to achieve a modest recovery, with regional GDP expanding by 3.4 per cent in 2021 and 3.6 per cent in 2022.

Also of significance is the February 2019 deal that saw US$300 million set aside for a 10-year plan to develop Port Sudan’s facilities, while a new Chinese-built seaport for shipping livestock in Haidob, south of Port Sudan, is nearing completion.
The Chinese-built port for shipping livestock from Sudan’s Red Sea coast is a component of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative and is primed to help transport camels, cattle and sheep targeted for the Asian markets.

A survey revealed that 77 per cent of temporary workers would be willing to receive their wages digitally if this gave them access to health insurance.

Combining digital payments with health insurance benefits offers an excellent opportunity for social inclusion, formalization, and financial innovation.
Data shows that if 50 per cent of temporary workers in Senegal received payments digitally, 45 billion CFA francs would be added to GDP per year (around US$80 million). Paying workers digitally, speeds up the financial inclusion for the population, boosts business competitiveness and increases financial system liquidity.

Africa is expected to recover from its worst recession in half a century and reach 3.4 per cent growth in 2021.
This growth which is expected to defy the effects of increasing debt burden and the Covid-19 pandemic does not however promise to wipe out poverty but instead an estimated 39 million more Africans could possibly slip into extreme poverty this year in addition to the about 30 million who were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.