August 2019 – January 2020
Two complementary data sets were used. The RIA Informal Business survey was conducted in nine African countries, as part of a nationally representative household and individual survey – the RIA 2017 After Access survey – conducted by RIA with funding from the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The RIA Informal Business survey was used to complement Facebook’s Future of Business survey, which targeted SMEs with fewer than 250 employees and have an active Facebook account.
Evidently, the target population for these two surveys are different, but the Facebook survey complements the RIA survey by providing a deep dive into a broader section of business with a broader and deeper use of ICTs than largely informal and micro-businesses in the RIA survey. To take advantage of the time series characteristics of the Future of Business survey, RIA proposed to use both descriptive techniques and econometric models/time series approaches to analyse the performance of the informal sector and their ability to access financial support for scalability.