Taking the

Pulse of Small Businesses in LDC markets

during COVID-19

ABOUT

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to impact Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with particular ferocity. The micro-, small- and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) in these markets—which are irreplaceable actors when it comes to net new job creation, financial inclusion, and innovation in practically every sector—are specifically susceptible to the profound economic consequences of COVID-19.

While there are public and private sector actors interested in supporting SMEs in LDC markets during this time, there is a tremendous information gap in terms of understanding precisely what these small businesses need to navigate this historic crisis.

Addressing this information gap is what brought together a consortium of partners earlier this year—consisting of UNCDF, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Global Alliance de PME (GAPME), Business Africa, Columbia University: Program of Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences, and Concordia.

Our effort to fill this information gap resulted in the launch of our LDC SME pulse survey— “The State of Small Businesses in the LDCs: Taking the Pulse of SMEs in the LDC Markets During COVID-19”—a unique survey encompassing more than 20 business sectors, featuring over 2,300 SMEs, spanning all 47 LDCs. Our comprehensive survey has produced a wealth of data that will provide clear, actionable visibility of SMEs needs in light of COVID across the LDCs.

Highlight 1

The LDC small business pulse survey provides a unique analysis into the state of micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) in the 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) markets focused on their key challenges, needs and coping and support mechanisms.

Highlight 2

LDC small businesses are suffering greatly with significant reductions in business capacity and drops in revenue due mainly to lack of market access caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Highlight 3

This economic impact of COVID is first and foremost a crisis of market shutdown and supply chain disruption; but there are signs of the crisis transforming into a business liquidity crisis for SMEs with decreases in market demand and shortage of finance to keep the businesses afloat.

Highlight 4

COVID-19 has had unequal impact on certain business segments leading to significant disparities in business resilience depending on the business size, sector, gender of the business leaders, and geographies.

Highlight 5

Government support to small businesses are central to ensuring the business resilience with over half of the SMEs reporting to have received some type of support, mainly subsidies, but there are disparities in the availability, effectiveness and accessibility of support by country.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

BLOG: TECHNICAL FINDINGS FROM SURVEY DATA ANALYSIS

DATA VISUALS SUPPORTED BY GOOGLE

BLOG: MACHINE LEARNING TEXTUAL ANALYSIS

Machine Learning Textual Analysis of Survey Responses from the LDC SME Pulse Survey on Impact of COVID-19

ONE PAGER SUMMARY: RETHINKING THE BUSINESS MODEL

ONE PAGER SUMMARY: ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF WOMEN-LED SMEs

ONE PAGER SUMMARY: INNOVATING FINANCING FOR SMEs

ONE PAGER SUMMARY: GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS FOR SMEs

KEY STATS AND FIGURES

COUNTRY DEEP DIVES

Bangladesh

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D.R. of Congo

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Guinea

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Mozambique

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Somalia

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Tanzania

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The Gambia

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Uganda

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