Impact of Coronavirus on Kenyan Businesses

March 27, 2020

The global Coronavirus pandemic has affected people in many ways. Due to its spread, the pandemic had created serious economic and social problems. The potency of the disease has led to many countries going into lock-down while others are struggling to keep afloat. The World Health Organization has issued a red alert that has prompted many countries, including Kenya, to impose a “work from home” directive. 

The “work from home” concept has forced many low-income households to devise ways to earn an extra coin to sustain their lifestyles.  Many people are now trying to substitute their income through their mobile devices and computers through betting. Some of the best betting sites in Kenya are facilitating this by ensuring they remain operational during this difficult time.

But despite the traffic uptake, the Coronavirus has also had several negative impacts on these companies in Kenya. The sites are suffering due to the extreme financial restraints placed by the government and a general lack of income by the population. Since many middle and low-income earners are not spending as much as they were on betting previously, the companies’ revenues have reduced drastically. This has many negative impacts on the sites as they are still expected to pay taxes to the government, which has forced them to stretch their budget to pay their workers and cover other running costs.

Despite relatively increased traffic, the Coronavirus and its economic aftermath means most users of these sites don’t have disposable income. This has reduced the revenues that these companies are making per user. 

This reduced income, together with a government directive on social distancing, has forced some companies to temporarily send non-essential staff home, often without pay. As much as the staff can work remotely, many do not have access to the amenities required to ensure their clients are satisfied with their services. Others simply require one to be physically present to get the job done.

The cancellation of major sports has further created a major problem for the betting sites in Kenya and across the world. Due to this, many have had to close, downsize their offerings or rely on virtual games to prevent a total closure. This has not spared physical betting shops and casinos either.

Another sector of business greatly affected by this Coronavirus is street vending. The recent emphasis on hygiene has meant that many street vendors in Kenya, not particularly known for their clean ways, have seen reduced clients or forced to provide expensive hand sanitizers to their clients. 

As if things could not get worse for them, the government announced a night-time curfew, where only essential personnel will be allowed to be outside in a bid to limit the spread of the virus. You see, most of the street vending in Kenya is done during the night. Until this curfew is lifted, many of these vendors will see a complete shutdown of their operations.

However it’s not bad for all Kenyan businesses. Companies that facilitate working from home, e.g. internet service providers (ISP) like Safaricom, have seen an increased number of subscribers. This is as a result of office workers being forced to teleconference with their colleagues.

Some sectors of manufacturing have also seen a bump. Just this month, over 20 existing and new manufacturers were given the green-light by Kenya Bureau of Standards to start manufacturing hand sanitizers.

The overall outlook of the economy following this Coronavirus is negative. The projections show that it will get worse, but we will not know for sure how bad until the end of the outbreak.

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