In August 2023, UNIDO jointly worked with a local tech firm to conduct a series of enterprise-level assessments of the digital utilization opportunities and recommendations for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania. This is a part of the UNIDO project “Promoting public health and social resilience by strengthening the domestic healthcare product supply chain” funded by the government of Japan and aims at championing potential opportunities for innovation and new technologies.
Digitalization, particularly for African SMEs, offers transformative advantages. Embracing digital platforms can unlock access to global markets, enabling smaller African businesses to tap into vast international audiences. Integrated digital technologies streamline processes, fostering operational efficiency and boosting overall productivity. Furthermore, the use of digital payment systems encourages financial inclusion, granting businesses better financial management tools and access to formal banking channels. A robust digital foundation equips companies with resilience against external shocks, such as recent pandemics caused by COVID-19, by offering agility in navigating changing conditions. Importantly, the move towards digitalization inherently promotes skill development among employees, encouraging a culture of continuous learning and adaptability.
The target companies with diverse product portfolios specialize in the production of health care, hygiene products, cosmetics, etc. in the manufacturing sector. The assessment shed light on the fact that digital transformation stands as a pivotal step for this medium-scale manufacturing entity. However, at the same time, it revealed that they need to grapple with challenges, such as financial constraints, system accessibility, and the need for skilled staff.
In conclusion, this survey underscores the pressing need for the digitalization of SMEs, advocating for their sustainable growth and heightened competitiveness in the market, especially in light of the myriad benefits it offers. Investing in digitalization can pave the way for greater future investment, increased profitability, and enhanced competitiveness for this enterprise.