Some industries thriving despite COVID-19 disruption


Recent purposive research into the impact of COVID-19 on industrial performance across the region has revealed that despite widely expected losses of revenue in some industries, others have continued to grow and even thrive.

The research, conducted by supply chain and industrialisation expert, Professor Douglas Boateng, examined the perceptions of C-Suite executives operating in industries of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The findings highlighted the operational, revenue and employment impacts COVID-19 has had in their industries thus far.

While significant declines occurred in tourism, hospitality, entertainment, aviation, property and some areas of manufacturing across the region, some industries have benefitted from increased demand and adapted operations.

Discussing the findings, Prof Boateng stated: “Although several sectors of industry have been devastated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, some participants in the study revealed that they have adapted well to challenges of the current situation and are actually experiencing increases in revenue, and have increased employment”.

According to the report, significant growth has been experienced in the beverages industry, online services, air cargo and healthcare supply, particularly in nutraceuticals, phytoceuticals, antibacterials and personal protective equipment production. C-Suite executives who participated in the study indicated the following positive impacts over the second quarter of 2020:

  • Revenue related to the sale and production of soft drinks has increased by over 20%;
  • More than 75% increase in revenue has been experienced in the bottled water industry;
  • Electronic media and online education sectors saw a 20% increase in revenues;
  • Nutraceuticals and antibacterials revenue increased by over 80%;
  • Phytoceutucals experienced a revenue increase of over 75%;
  • PPE production saw a 50% increase in revenues.

This growth is undoubtedly promising for these industries. However, as Prof. Boateng pointed out, most industries have not been as lucky.

“In Nigeria the oil and chemical sector has been hit very hard with revenue decreases of over 30%. In Kenya the floriculture sector has seen job losses as well as revenue decreases of over 30%. In South Africa, the automotive and tourism sectors have seen revenue decreases of over 30%. Significant job losses have also occurred in a range of business services in South Africa,” he said.

“As countries start to overcome their COVID-19 peak, there is hope that those businesses which have been negatively impacted will be able to begin increasing their operations and rebuild their revenues.  For those businesses that have grown over this period, now may be the time to expand into reopening markets and further look to harness the opportunities which have emerged in their industries,” Boateng added.

Commenting on among others the evolving opportunities from the COVID-19 pandemic, H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), called for member-countries to support regional-wide industrialisation and trade initiatives once borders begin to open up.

“Through the AfCFTA we have an opportunity to reconfigure our supply chains, to reduce reliance on others and to expedite the establishment of regional value chains that will boost intra-Africa trade and secure Africa’s productive capacity for generations to come,” he concluded.

>>> His Excellency Wamkele Mene is the Secretary General of AfCFTA, and Professor Douglas Boateng is an international chartered director and Africa’s first-ever appointed Professor Extraordinaire for Industrialisation and Supply Chain Governance. For more information on AfCFTA and Panavest please visit and




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