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July-September 2020

Coronavirus: SMEs in the UAE forced to digitally transform

The International Monetary Fund has projected that the overall Middle East and North Africa economy will contract by 3.3% in 2020 – its biggest slump in four decades. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 77% of CFOs surveyed by management consultancy PwC said the coronavirus had “the potential for significant impact to our business operations and is causing us great concern.” In these uncertain times, small and medium-sized businesses (SME) owners are turning to technology to keep their companies afloat. SMEs make up more than 94% of companies in the UAE and employ nearly 90% of the private sector workforce, according to government data. “What the coronavirus has done is force many small businesses to very rapidly undergo forced digital transformations to ensure operational continuity,” Wes Schwalje, COO of Dubai-based research firm Tahseen Consulting, told Computer Weekly. “Local employers have scrambled to adopt technologies to manage remote workers, including tools for project management, messaging and conferencing, document ...

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