Are business owners likely to see a return to some kind of normal in 2022? Critical to South Africa’s economy, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) have taken immense strain in the last few years as an already tough economic environment was followed by months of Covid lockdowns.
Heading into 2022, analysts predict that by the middle of the year, many developed markets and emerging markets may be able to return to “normal”. As Covid risks reduce with the increased roll-out of vaccinations, governments will be able to adopt more flexible policies to manage the virus, hopefully reducing border shutdowns and other lockdown measures in the year ahead.
While there is some light at the end of the tunnel, supply-chain challenges, inflation and geopolitical tensions make for a complex global picture. The chance of new variants and slow vaccination rates in many countries remain roadblocks in the return to normalcy. Overall, Fitch Solutions forecasts that the global economy will grow 4.1% in 2022 — above the pre-pandemic 3.1% rate — and sub-Saharan Africa is to remain steady at 3.6%.
SMMEs will need all the support they can get in revitalising their businesses and using technology to reach more customers, and improving efficiencies is a key component in driving success.
An in-depth McKinsey SME report found that “post the Covid-19 crisis, more than 65% of payments will be done using cards or means requiring point-of-sale devices. A significant drive from financial institutions can help drive uptake and readiness in businesses.”
As more people shift to digital payments over cash, local fintech iKhokha is well positioned to support SMMEs in growing their businesses and at lower cost. In December 2021, iKhokha processed more than R1.2-billion in card volumes – and is up more than 100% year on year in transaction volumes, highlighting the significant adoption of digital payments over cash in the SMME space.
While many other factors will play a part in the recovery of South Africa’s SMMEs, McKinsey reports that “digital and new technologies create an opportunity for SMMEs to enhance their reach and efficiency at lower costs, overcoming the scale disadvantage they have relative to larger players”.
“iKhokha has been focused on building a true omnichannel offering, with both online and in-person digital payment solutions for SMMEs, and we have also ensured that merchants using our payment solutions for both card-present and online payments will get the lowest combined transaction rates in South Africa,” says Graeme Cumming, iKhokha chief growth officer.
Over and above card devices, iKhokha recently launched the Payment Gateway for the WooCommerce and WordPress platforms, with Wix and other popular website builder platforms to follow soon, allowing SMEs to set up online payments quickly.
At iKhokha, we know how important the role is we have to play in reigniting GDP growth in our country
As a South African business, iKhokha value staying close to its merchants on the ground to ensure it is addressing real business owners’ needs. This has resulted in a recent revamp of its mobile application, with a big focus on improving usability and introducing new features for merchants, including important enablers such as the ability to send pay links, and manage transactions faster.
“At iKhokha, we know how important the role is we have to play in reigniting GDP growth in our country, and how pivotal it is for us to lead the way in giving SMMEs across South Africa a digital footprint and the tools they need to accelerate their growth,” says iKhokha CEO Matt Putman.
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