Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of Africa’s economy, accounting for the majority of businesses and employment across the continent. Recognizing their vital role in driving economic growth and job creation, GeoPoll and Africa 118 are proud to release the third edition of the Africa MSME Pulse Survey.

This comprehensive study offers a deep dive into the operational realities, challenges, and aspirations of African MSMEs, providing crucial insights to support the growth and success of this pivotal sector. As the third iteration of the survey, we can now analyze emerging trends and changes over time while also introducing new themes, such as the impact of AI and the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Africa MSME Pulse 2024 covers Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa and paints a picture of the MSME landscape, highlighting both progress and persistent hurdles.

Africa MSME Pulse 2024 Survey

Key Insights:

  • Business Environment in Flux: After a period of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the business environment has taken a turn for the worse, with 65% of MSMEs reporting a deterioration compared to the previous year. Inflation (68%), volatile exchange rates (41%), and political uncertainty (39%) are cited as the primary drivers of this relapse.
  • Employment Trends: The survey found that 40% of MSMEs have had to lay off staff in the last two years, and 40% are unlikely to hire in the near future.
  • Digital Transformation: There has been a remarkable increase in the adoption of digital tools, with 65.45% of MSMEs reporting a heightened reliance on technology and online platforms. Investments in AI (29.61%) and website development (50.39%) are high on the agenda.
  • Marketing Channels: Social media (67%) and search engines (32%) rank online marketing at the top of most MSMEs’ marketing efforts. Most businesses run online marketing in-house, although agencies are resurging from the previous year. Over 60% anticipate increased digital marketing spending in the next 12 months.
  • Financing Dynamics and Market Expansion: While most MSMEs continue to rely on self-financing, there is a notable shift towards formal financing, with bank loans nearly doubling from 14% in 2023 to 28.5% in 2024. Yet, 31.2% of MSMEs have experienced loan denials.
  • Continental Expansion: Under the AfCFTA, 24.68% of MSMEs are actively pursuing intra-African expansion, but challenges such as lack of market information (44.94%) and access to capital (43.64%) persist.
  • Educational Needs and Skill Gaps: MSMEs express a strong desire to enhance their skills, particularly in technology solutions (55.06%), digital marketing (54.03%), and accessing financing (49.35%).
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Download the Full Report

The Africa MSME Pulse 2024 Survey Report is more than just a collection of data — it is a roadmap for understanding and supporting the growth of MSMEs in Africa. By downloading the full report, you will gain access to:

  • Detailed analyses of the trends and challenges affecting MSMEs
  • Insightful breakdowns of digital adoption, financing trends, and market expansion opportunities
  • Actionable recommendations for businesses and policymakers to harness the full potential of MSMEs

Fill out the form below to receive the report in your email.

Contact GeoPoll or Africa 118 to learn more about the study and our capabilities.