On the Economic Frontlines of COVID-19: Early Insights From MSMEs Grappling With the Crisis

The data from CFI’s surveys on emerging-market MSMEs tells a stark tale: COVID-19 has closed 15 percent of all businesses; 83 percent of operating MSMEs have seen a dramatic decline in profits, leading to struggles covering operating expenses; 46 percent of closed MSMEs report government-imposed restrictions on movement as the most direct cause of their business closure. There is no obvious “best practice” coping strategy MSMEs are using, and it’s a tough road for many MSMEs trying to return to pre-pandemic financial health.

Armed with the right insights and data, however, policymakers and other ecosystem actors can target interventions that help rather than harm.

This brief contains insights needed to support MSME recovery. It summarizes and analyzes the first wave of data from a research project on the financial health of MSME owners/operators during COVID-19. At the program’s core is a longitudinal, six-wave survey in four countries: Colombia, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria. In each country, CFI is surveying MSME clients at one financial institution participating in our partnership with Mastercard every other month for one year.

Visit the COVID-19 and MSMEs: Data and Analysis to Understand Impact program page to interact with the data dashboards and read other analyses.


This research is part of our partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

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