East African businesses will have to change in order to survive after the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a survey released by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) titled East Africa’s Rebound, workers will have to adapt to the new reality to ensure near-term business continuity in the region.
“Covid-19 has had a significant economic impact across East Africa. Global shocks and local restrictions aimed at curbing the virus spread have severely impacted businesses across sectors,” states the report.
The International Monetary Fund has revised its 2020 projection for the EAC GDP growth rate from six per cent to 1.8 per cent.
Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya established strict restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, while other countries in the region took less restrictive approaches.
BCG Nairobi office Managing Director Mills Schenck said containing Covid-19 will be a daunting journey for East African businesses.
“Business leaders will need to tailor strategies for uncertain disease progression scenarios, global market dislocations, and shifting consumer behaviour,” he said.
To ensure near-term business continuity, the study recommends new methods of cash and liquidity management while ensuring products and services serve the preferences of customers, whose consumption patterns have changed to accommodate their lower purchasing power.
The report also points at the use of Big Data analytics in cutting costs and boosting brand confidence.
“Firms will have to hire and maintain a dedicated team to track data, assess business impact, and plan for different scenarios,” the survey says.
Since most consumers have moved online due to government directives to contain the virus, business leaders should invest in the digital customer experience.
According to BCG, governments can support businesses to capitalise on opportunities by removing barriers to trade across the region, which would empower local manufacturers.