A Visa Economic Empowerment Institute report

Greater digitization of commerce has brought enormous benefits to businesses and consumers. By using digital payment capabilities and online marketplaces, many micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are more able to compete with larger firms through greater customer choice and reach. This paper (published by Visa Economic Empowerment Institute, VEEI) examines the results of a VEEI survey of MSMEs in five developing countries (Brazil, Colombia, Malaysia, Philippines, and South Africa) and finds that those firms that embraced digital commerce and cross-border capabilities before and during the pandemic have generally weathered the crisis better than those that continue to rely primarily on face-to face transactions, and that these firms are more optimistic for the future. Furthermore, survey responses indicate that more small businesses want improved internet connectivity, assistance with digital commerce, and help with cybersecurity than want direct financial support from governments.

These findings help inform several recommendations to policymakers on measures they can take – and some they should avoid – to help their small businesses recover and thrive.