Local companies are hopeful of economic recovery in 2022 but are cautious that the risk of the pandemic still exists.
For Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME), who have traditionally struggled to survive in a hostile economic environment, COVID-19 was a body blow and are hopeful that 2022 will be the year of redemption for them.
Since the outbreak, most SMMEs have been operating under uncertainty with some forced to lay off their employees and close down, as they could not afford to pay salaries anymore. Many faced severe losses in revenues and a good number are headed for collapse.
While its ultimate trajectory is at this point uncertain, it has already caused significant harm to individuals and communities, both in health and economic terms.
Despite their currently depressed situation, SMMEs are expected to benefit from changing winds in the country’s efforts to become more self-sufficient, a harsh lesson learnt from COVID-19. The pandemic has rocked regional supply chains, forcing all countries to look at their own needs first before exports.
Though various authorities have their own definitions, SMMEs in Botswana usually refer to a business that has a turnover ranging from P1.00 to P10 million. Most of them are concentrated in the service and supplies industries, while a few are in manufacturing, a sector beginning to pick momentum.
There is hope though, they say.
Mosa Tsipeng told Business Monitor that COVID-19 vaccines offer hope for a stronger recovery as the country makes progress. “Lockdown measures are relaxed, borders are open and slowly business has started to pick momentum. People need to take the jabs in large numbers and follow the health protocols because we cannot afford any lockdown as entrepreneurs. We expect the economy to recover and show signs of growth,” she said.
A local tour operator also shared the same sentiments noting that they have recently been receiving a satisfying number of bookings.
However, some companies have been fortunate to see an enormous jump in demand during the pandemic and are expected to be in demand even after the threat of COVID-19 fully subsides. Most of them centre on recreation and technology.
For the past decades, high numbers of local SMMEs have failed in their first phase of operation, which is normally the first three to five years. Those that survive usually continue to operate in conditions of uncertainty due to market volatility, intense competitive rivalry, lack of marketing skills and shortage of serviced land.