The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented economic slowdown that had an outsized, adverse impact on micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the globe. As the world begins to reckon with the ‘new normal’ and countries take steps toward economic stabilization, it is clear that MSMEs—which account for two-thirds of employment globally and 80 to 90 percent of employment in low-income countries—will play an essential role in strengthening pandemic recovery efforts as they fuel economic growth and spur job creation in emerging markets. The pandemic also revealed the vital role digital technologies play in enabling businesses, communities, and individuals to connect, function, and thrive.
The pandemic also revealed the vital role digital technologies play in enabling businesses, communities, and individuals to connect, function, and thrive. Given the vital role that MSMEs play in determining the growth trajectories of emerging markets, as well as the growing body of evidence that digital tools have become increasingly important for MSMEs during the pandemic, DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration and survey firm Ipsos conducted a survey of MSME owners and top-level managers across 13 countries to gain a fuller picture of digital tool use among MSMEs in North America, South America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Today, we’re excited to share full findings from Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as a global report that contextualizes the findings of the individual country briefs within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As emerging markets recover and rebound from the immense challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, this research contributes important insights for actors seeking to enhance inclusive economic growth and business resilience. The nuanced findings derived from this study’s use of in-person interviews at scale shed light on crucial opportunities for policymakers to equip online and offline MSMEs with digital pathways to growth in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. This research articulates clear, actionable approaches to promote inclusivity and resilience amongst both online and offline MSMEs, offering a new bank of insights on the increasingly important role of digital tools in economic growth.