__Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” (Winston Churchill)
Over the next few weeks, some businesses will gingerly begin to re-open. A lot of damage has been done to both lives and livelihoods since this pandemic hit in late 2019. The damage to both is ongoing, and it’s not yet clear if Africa’s COVID-19 cases will still rise in the pattern that has happened elsewhere in the world.
If it does not, it will be because, for the first time in history, Africa “got ahead of the curve on a crisis”… That is, our governments took strong measures to avoid the worst impact on our people, such as awareness campaigns and lockdowns. Time will tell.
On the issue of damage to livelihoods: it is huge and extensive. This is because our economies simply don’t have the tools of richer countries to try and help. In places like China, Europe and America, businesses have been given trillions of dollars to stay in business, and preserve jobs. To give an example, a friend of mine has a small business in America, and started getting cash to simply support his loss of revenue.
Our suggestion that Africa also be supported through a $100bn Jobs Stimulus Initiative program to help protect its businesses, fell on deaf, and “tin” ears. (A “tin ear” is someone who pretends to listen but it just bounces back).
__We have already lost an estimated 25m formal jobs, and it could rise to 100m, when you consider small and informal businesses.
As most of you know, African small businesses have been devastated. Many of them (you) are here on this platform, so I feel quite sore about it!
If you have lost your business, I want to work over the next few months to help you refocus, or even get back on your feet. I have not given up on the $100bn Jobs Stimulus. Already some $22bn is done. Governments have to continue to fight on this.
#Life goes on!
It is not the end of the world. (It will end one day, but this is not it!)
Let’s get back to business, as entrepreneurs.
I want to start this conversation with you, on what I call “winners and losers”. By this I mean there are business sectors that have been hit really hard; these are the losers, so far. Then there are business sectors that have been real winners, so far. (This is not to be confused with being an opportunist “winner” who raises prices unfairly and gouges panicked customers in times of need).
By winners, I mean entrepreneurs and businesses who innovate, or provide products and services that people need and want at this time in history, perhaps like never before.
I also want to discuss the subject in terms of the #Post-COVID business world. There are already massive changes in how business is done. How are you reconfiguring your own business to be able to thrive in such an environment?
Now you may say right now your business is definitely in the “Loser” category… Globally this pandemic is indeed a storm like no other we’ve ever faced before. On this page we will stay focused and not despair. Remember, we are #SolutionSeekers!
As with everything that I do, I will share with you some of the things that I have been doing, and how I’m responding.
To be continued. . .
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa