A new study conducted by Genesis Analytics has revealed that social media platforms is helping Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa to accelerate economic growth and opportunity across the continent.

The study carried out in eight African countries – Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, the DRC, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Mauritius, and Kenya noted that SMEs, aided by social media are the vehicle to achieve youth employment, gender parity and intra-regional trade in Africa.

It argued that the African continent is heavily reliant on its small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of the economy. As many countries across the continent have embarked on their digital transformation, the research shows that digital platforms can play a key role in the continent’s development.

The report shows that surveyed SMEs that use the Facebook apps have younger employees with an average share of 45% of employees under 30. Additionally, SMEs using Facebook apps reported a higher frequency of being owned by women, while SMEs in the manufacturing sector ranked the ability to access new foreign markets as the most beneficial advantage of the apps.

Commenting on the report, Ryan Short, Partner at Genesis Analytics said: “The Genesis Analytics study shines a much-needed light on how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on the continent are embracing digital tools and platforms. It shows empirically that the use of digital tools can drive economic growth by bringing more women into the formal economy; creating economic opportunity for young people; and boosting intra-African trade. We urge policymakers and digital platforms alike to understand these opportunities and to create an optimal environment for SMEs to thrive using digital tools and social media.”

The report also identified the barriers that policymakers may need to further focus on to increase the adoption and drive significant growth, with expensive internet and data costs and low levels of trust in data privacy being barriers to greater uptake.

It admitted that resolving these challenges will take close cooperation between governments and private companies to foster a digital environment that can power small businesses to unlock Africa’s rich opportunities.


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