PANEL STUDY IV: IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SMALL- AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES IN IRAQ
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Trade Center (ITC) assessed the economic impact of COVID-19 on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Iraq between February 2020 and June 2021. Four rounds of surveys tracked the effect of border closures and lockdowns on revenue, production, and employment; accessibility of resources or ability to sell products; and mechanisms adopted to cope with the crisis.
The latest report, Panel Study IV: Impact of COVID-19 on Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Iraq, presents the findings of the fourth round of data and analyzes the findings longitudinally over the course of the pandemic. The report finds that one and a half years after the first COVID-19 case in Iraq, SMEs have not yet fully recovered from the economic impact of the pandemic. By the end of the study period in June 2021, the SMEs’ average monthly revenues hovered at around 60 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels and SMEs still had one fewer employee compared to before the pandemic. Well into the pandemic, between December 2020 and June 2021, 68 per cent of the SME owners had taken on debt, 80 per cent of which did so due to COVID-19. Because of these financial struggles, by June 2021, 26 per cent of SMEs are very concerned and 31 per cent are moderately concerned about the recovery of their business from the COVID-19 crisis.
The unique panel study surveyed the same 716 SMEs located in 15 governorates and spanning 16 economic sectors. The four rounds of data collection took place from: 22 June to 7 July, 9 to 18 September, 29 November to 15 December, and 8 to 25 June 2021.