Intelligent SME.tech Issue 15 - Page 20

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AN EMPOWERED SME SECTOR IS A GROWTH ENGINE FOR THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF COUNTRIES ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA .
Digitalisation readiness key to unlocking SME growth potential in Middle East and Africa , says new Mastercard whitepaper .
MALL AND MEDIUM

S enterprises ( SMEs ) across the Africa region are recognising digitalisation as essential to staying competitive in a transformed business and economic environment . The insight is one of many in a new whitepaper by payments technology leader Mastercard , which explores the way small businesses are viewing digital payments , online presence and the benefits of an evolving cashless economy .

The whitepaper , titled The Digital SME : How Are Small and Medium Enterprises in the Middle East and Africa Embracing a Digital Future ?, is an in-depth follow-on study from the data-rich Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index 2021 , which released findings about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SMEs across sectors , products and services in the region . that 89 % of SMEs in Kenya , 81 % in West Africa , particularly Nigeria , and 73 % in the Ivory Coast believe the same .
The whitepaper also found that digitalisation has progressed globally since 2018 but has seen higher traction among larger corporations and financial institutions than among SMEs . It accelerated in 2020 – 21 to enable continuity of business , with 70 % of SMEs globally intensifying their use of digital technologies due to COVID-19 restrictions .
“ An empowered SME sector is a growth engine for the economic development of countries across the Middle East and Africa . But the challenges are many , chief being access to funding and digitalisation which have emerged as huge needs . The Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index found that 89 % of SMEs in the Middle East and Africa say they see potential in digitalising their business which is encouraging for everyone within the digital economy ,” said Gaurang Shah , Senior Vice President , Product Management , Digital Payments and Labs for Middle East and Africa , Mastercard .
Every month , we pose industry experts a question pertinent to the issues of the day . This month . . . .
It revealed that SMEs in MEA recognise faster access to revenue as the biggest benefit of a cashless economy to their business ( 44 %). Other benefits identified include the ease of not handling or processing cash ( 50 %) and having more convenient ways of paying suppliers and employees ( 50 %).
Overall , 67 % of MEA SMEs say they believe e-commerce will have a positive impact on their business . A highlight from the study is

HOW CAN SMES BEST ACHIEVE THEIR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION GOALS FOR 2022 ?

Digitalisation of SME operations also brings the benefit of generating data that institutions need to view an SME as a real business with potential and make more informed credit decisions . This helps bring small businesses into the financial mainstream .

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