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              South Africa’s SMMEs vulnerable to global

             economic slowdown as SA declares a national

                                            state of disaster

                                     Businesses are preparing for the impact of Covid-19

                      With the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus now crippling economic
                   activity worldwide, South African SMMEs are particularly vulnerable. Local
                   businesses have already been battling through a technical recession, severe
                             load-shedding and low consumer and business confidence.

                    o find out what is most   continent. This means that SA
                    troubling SMMEs as      SMMEs who source stock locally
                    South Africa scrambles   will arguably be in a far stronger
                    to contain the spread   position in the weeks and months
          Tof the coronavirus,              ahead.
          Crossfin Transactional Solutions
          one of Africa’s largest Fintech   According to the CTS survey results
          consortiums, conducted a detailed   thus far, over 50% of respondents
          survey with clients and customers.   buy and source stock locally, which
          The survey aimed to pinpoint the   is a positive indicator.
          impact of the corona virus on local
          SMMEs, as well as to identify the   “Apart from the direct economic
          particular pain points for businesses   impact, business owners are        Paul Kent, CEO of Crossfin
          as the crisis unfolds.            concerned about the health of           Transactional Solutions (CTS)
                                            their staff and family as the global
          “The survey results have been     pandemic spreads,” adds Kent.      same way that it is able to live on
          startling in that they reveal just   “While most people are informed   hard surfaces such as handrails and
          how serious the economic impact   about what to do in the case of    handles. The Bank of England has
          is going to be for South Africa’s   infection, the impact on day to day   also acknowledged that banknotes
          already overburdened SMMEs,”      life will be significant.”         “can carry bacteria or viruses” and
          says Paul Kent, CEO of Crossfin                                      urged people to regularly wash their
          Transactional Solutions (CTS).    World Health Organisation (WHO)    hands.
          “Almost 70% of respondents have   urges the use of contactless
          indicated that there will be a direct   payments as cash is risky    “Switching to contactless payments
          impact on their business.”        As the global health crisis worsens,   – where possible – is a no-brainer
                                            people should be limiting contact   for individuals and businesses as
          Already, economists and analysts   with others where possible, and   the world struggles to contain this
          are warning that prolonged        also limiting contact with cash and   pandemic,” says Kent. “We must
          disruptions to global supply chains   goods that have changed hands   harness all the tools available to us
          will cause major production delays   frequently.                     and limit the spread of this virus by
          – or will in some instances halt                                     taking simple but critical measures
          production altogether.            Notably, a spokesperson for the    in the way we live, work and
                                            World Health Organization said     transact.”
          South Africa, along with many     contactless cards could ‘reduce the
          other African countries, is overly   risk of transmission’. Indeed, cash   While the country prepares itself
          reliant on China (the epicentre of   notes change hands hundreds or   for quarantine, the best thing you
          Covid-19) for a large bulk of exports   even thousands of times during   can do now is to ensure that you
          and imports – so the Chinese      circulation … and can pick up dirt   support your local independent
          slowdown will have a dramatic,    and bugs as they’re passed around.   retailer - and ensure you tap to pay
          long term impact on many sectors   Some experts say that Covid-19    for all retail merchandise, where
          and industries across the African   could latch onto currency in the   possible.
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