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AFFORD Business Centre Research Study on The impact of EVD on SMEs and other key business sectors in Sierra Leone Targets: SMEs ( comprising market traders, agri-businesses, supply chain for large businesses in the mining, tourism &hospitality, transport, health sectors, etc); plus diaspora and other investor
Posted on at 25 August, 2015, 10:51 am
AFFORD (UK and SL), joint partners, were commissioned to undertake an ‘Enterprise Development in Africa’ project, in the context of Sierra Leone. The Comic Relief funded AFFORD Business Centre (ABC) is a social enterprise supporting fast-growth SMEs in Sierra Leone that are likely to create jobs. The 3 year project has been granted a no cost extension of 2 years and has entered its 4th year. It is scheduled to be completed in September 2016. Despite the significant gains that have been made by ABC, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak that struck Sierra Leone in May 2014, as well leading to the tragic death of thousands, has also had a devastating impact on the economy. This in turn has adversely affected the majority of businesses, which mainly consists of SMEs. As the lifeblood of the Sierra Leonean economy, the negative impact on SMEs has had far-reaching repercussions. Subsequent public health interventions implemented by the Government of Sierra Leone to contain the outbreak, further impacted the ability of ABC to deliver its core activities of business development support training and the promotion of enterprise via outreach to large cohorts of students. The current situation has also had an adverse effect on potential diaspora and other investors.
The World Bank predicts negative growth of -2% for the country in 2015. There are current information gaps as to the extent of the impact of EVD on business in Sierra Leone, of which SMEs make up the biggest proportion of economic activity.