The health crisis linked to the coronavirus, the impact of which is significant on economic activities, affects more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which saw their turnover fall by more than 80% at the end of 2020. A difficult situation for the national economy whose SMEs represent more than 90% of the economic fabric and contribute more than 35% of the GDP (gross domestic product).
The study conducted by the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts reveals that the tertiary sector, which accounts for 51.5% of GDP and employs 42% of the working population, is the most affected. This gloomy environment has led to a 70% reduction in purchasing power, while certain sectors such as tourism have experienced a drop in activity of more than 92%.
During the period under review, 83.30% of business leaders reorganized working hours, either by instituting telework or by rotating staff. In addition, 68.40% of employees have been placed on technical unemployment, while 58% of companies have temporarily stopped their activities. However, almost 5% of SMEs said they had recruited new staff mainly in the trade area.
Employers’ organizations like the Groupement interpatronal du Cameroun (GICAM) reveal in their investigations that the Covid-19 has led to the elimination and the putting on technical leave of more than 72,000 jobs, while nearly 14,000 SMEs are in state of bankruptcy.
Cameroon with the support of development partners has already mobilized more than 400 billion FCFA (727 million dollars) to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus and revive production.