2020: A challenging year for SMEs and CBI due to COVID-19

CBI 2020 infographic banner

The CBI Annual Report infographic gives highlights of our results for 2020. Under difficult circumstances, 425 SMEs in 27 countries received our support. Through 32 projects, we supported exports to Europe with a value of 110 million euros and exports to non-European markets with a value of 255 million euros. We also supported 32,508 jobs. Thanks to a quick move to digital services, we were able to offer tailored support to SMEs despite travel restrictions.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many parts of our work. Many of the SMEs we support have faced significant decreases in income. This is due to a decrease in market demand and disruption to the supply chain. Despite the difficult circumstances, we have seen great resilience and flexibility from these SMEs.

Digital service and local experts

Travel restrictions have made it challenging to support SMEs in developing countries. Under the pressure of COVID-19, we moved quickly to digital services for local SMEs and support organisations. This allowed us to respond flexibly to their needs. For example, we helped companies to:

  • Find buyers through digital events;
  • Find and enter alternative markets; and
  • Adapt production processes to respond to COVID-19 market opportunities.

When possible, we worked closely with local experts to provide services.

Market information

We shared much-needed market information with local SMEs. This included information about how to take opportunities and deal with the threats COVID-19 brought. Around 260,000 owners and staff members in developing countries used this information.

A new strategy

In 2020, we also developed our new strategy for 2021-2025. Supporting sustainable transitions in sectors in developing countries is one of the main goals of this strategy. We will promote exports to achieve this goal. In this strategy, we use a systemic approach. We also focus on themes such as:

  • Access to finance;
  • Decent work;
  • Gender; and
  • Digitisation.

View the highlights of our 2020 results.

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