Group CEO's Statement

The year 2020 will be remembered as a truly unprecedented one with the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging countries across the globe. The pandemic was more than just a health crisis - its impact was felt across economic and societal fronts – with African economies left exposed as a result of declining domestic activities, as travel and trade restrictions became the norm in 2020. The African Union and IMF predicted that the continent’s GDP growth would contract to -0.8% from an initial projection of 3.2% as a result of the pandemic.

A 2020 World Bank survey showed that the private sector firms in the East African region faced lower demand for goods and services due to decreased consumption, disrupted supply chains, access to intermediate goods, labour and sales channels as a result of the pandemic. These challenges were heightened by the restrictions put in place by the region’s governments to curb the cross-country infection rate. This impact on the private sector and local companies trickled down to households through reduced labour hours, salary cuts and increased unemployment rates, thereby reducing consumer’s purchasing power.

The media industry was not spared the effects of the pandemic with advertisers reducing their marketing budgets, postponing campaigns and taking other stringent financial measures necessary given the difficult operating environment. Our print products consumption patterns were also affected by movement restrictions thereby impacting on our newspaper circulation. However, the pandemic saw the acceleration of consumption of our content digitally resulting in a significant uptake of our ePaper.

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