SA: Small business focuses on economic growth

The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector has convened at a forum in Johannesburg in an effort to rekindle economic activity and restore investor confidence in the African continent.

Sector representatives are attending the Africa SME Champions Forum, which is aimed at building the capacity of SMEs by preparing them for financing, and exposing them to key financial institutions and funding partners.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has set an ambitious investment target to raise R1.2 trillion in new foreign and domestic direct investments over the next five years.

As a result, the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) has geared up support for SMEs through strategic partnerships such as the Africa SME Champions Forum.

The forum brings together SMEs from 20 African countries and key speakers from across the continent, with a rich programme built around high-level interactive sessions, roundtables, thematic master classes and sectoral sessions on business opportunities in Africa.

SMEs are largely billed as capable of transforming the African landscape through innovation. As such, a gala dinner will be hosted during the forum and the most innovative SME will be awarded US $10 000.

Now in its sixth year in succession, the Africa SME Champions Forum is set to run from Tuesday until Wednesday, 13 November.

The two-day programme runs on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) 2019 and brings together Africa’s best high growth SMEs, large corporations, key financial institutions, experts in business development for SMEs and policymakers.

SMEs account for 33% of the African continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) and contribute over 45% towards employment (employing approximately 70% of the rural population).

Regardless of this, only 20% have access to credit, which inhibits their potential for growth.