NAIROBI, Kenya, June 29 – After seeing unprecedented changes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the confidence of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) in Kenya is rising, according to the latest research from Mastercard.
The first Mastercard Middle East and Africa (MEA) SME Trust Index found that 62 percent of SMEs in Africa are optimistic about the next 12 months and 61 percent of SMEs in Kenya see positive signs of recovery.
Access to finance and digitization as the key to future growth
As Kenya begins to recover, the country’s small and medium-sized businesses have identified easier access to finance (73%), digital payment adoption, better data and insights, and the digitization of business operations (72%) as the top 3 Drivers for growth. This highlights opportunities that arise both from internal transformation and from industry regulations and trends.
Making sure SMBs get all the support they need to go digital and grow is a top priority for Mastercard. The company works closely with various stakeholders, including government and banking institutions, to create opportunities for SMEs, which make up 98% of all businesses in Kenya.
Mastercard has pledged $ 250 million and is committed to connecting 50 million micro, small and medium-sized businesses with its technology, network, expertise and resources to the digital economy by 2025 to support the company’s goal of being one Build a more sustainable and inclusive digital economy. For many small businesses, reducing their reliance on cash through the adoption of digital payments has been an important factor in helping them get paid and maintain their revenues.
“SMEs are among the hardest hit by the pandemic and Mastercard is committed to continuing to support this sector, particularly with regard to the connections to the digital payment acceptance tools, insights and cyber-secure technology solutions they need. While the challenges remain, the SME Trust Index provides all stakeholders with a useful overview of what we can do to increase the contribution of this sector in Kenya. It is very encouraging to see that the three Ds – data, digital payments and digitized operations – are already active with SMEs in Kenya to position themselves for multi-dimensional recovery and growth, ”said Shehryar Ali, Country Manager, East Africa, Mastercard .
Business costs are a key concern, while public and private partnerships are seen as the engine of growth
When asked what the main thing that keeps them up at night, 49% of SMEs in Kenya said the challenge of keeping and growing their business was their main topic. Looking at concerns over the next 12 months, nearly three-quarters (73%) cited rising business costs, while 44% cited access to capital. Private sector partnerships (61%) and government-led initiatives (40%) were identified as having the greatest potential to positively impact SMEs and the wider Kenyan market.
“As Kenya SMEs begin their recovery journey in a post-Covid world, their primary concern is access to finance to sustain and grow their business. This can be achieved by using the digital economy to foster greater inclusion by removing barriers to financial services. At Mastercard, we are committed to connecting businesses to the digital economy by working with partners to deliver digital solutions and technologies that enable them to improve their operational efficiencies, diversify their revenue and grow their business. ” added Shehryar Ali.
As consumer trends evolve in a post-pandemic world, businesses need to adapt and prepare for the future. Mastercard’s 2021 Economic Outlook estimates that 20-30% of the Covid-19-related increase in e-commerce would be a persistent trend in the share of total retail spending worldwide. In addition, recent studies by Mastercard have shown that 79% of Kenyan consumers are shopping more online than they have since the pandemic began, and 99% of Kenyan shoppers would consider making a purchase using an emerging payment technology in the next year.