South Africa-based Economics Consulting firm, Genesis Analytics has conducted a study in eight African countries i.e. Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Mauritius, and Kenya —revealing that social media platforms help accelerate economic growth and opportunity across Africa.
As many countries across the continent have embarked on their digital transformation, the research showed that digital platforms are playing a key role in the continent’s development.
According to the results of the study, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the vehicle to achieve youth employment, gender parity, and intra-regional trade in Africa. According to the report, SMBs that use the Facebook apps have younger employees with an average share of 45% of employees under 30. Additionally, SMBs using Facebook apps reported a higher frequency of being owned by women, while SMBs in the manufacturing sector ranked the ability to access new foreign markets as the most beneficial advantage of the apps.
Kojo Boakye the Director of Africa Public Policy at Facebook commenting on the findings said, “84% of surveyed SMBs reported that Facebook apps have been important for their business growth. This reinforces our commitment to providing access and skills that help people use Facebook apps to increase employment opportunities, incomes, gender equity, and trade.”
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. 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.
“The Genesis Analytics study shines a much-needed light on how small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Africa 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 youth, and boosting intra-African trade,” Ryan Short, Partner at Genesis Analytics said in the report.
“We urge policymakers and digital platforms alike to understand these opportunities and to create an optimal environment for SMBs to thrive using digital tools and social media,” he added.