12 Jun 2020

DPI COVID-19 Checklist 2

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The Africa CEO Checklist


Dear CEOs and senior management

Since our last “Checklist”, global reported cases of the SARS-Cov-2 virus have increased from ~50,000 to ~6.7mm. As at 15th May, the African continent with 16% of the world’s population, has suffered 0.53% of the world’s reported deaths.

There is no shortage of macro analysis out there. However we have seen little practical information for African CEOs. This checklist aims to share the daily best practices we see on the ground from our 18 companies and their remarkable leadership teams in a clear and simple way.

The emphasis has now shifted. DPI portfolio companies moved highly effectively to implement “Phase 1” interventions – protecting people, customers and assets, and ensuring liquidity. The focus is now on Phase 2 – stress testing liquidity against scenarios for the coming 3, 6 and 12 months and Phase 3 – preparing to adapt and thrive in the coming 12-18 months. The winners will be those who adapt their products and channels most effectively to regain lost revenues and restore growth. For companies with stronger balance sheets – now is a good time to be alert for carefully selected M&A opportunities.

We succeed in uncertainty by rediscovering the art of scenario planning. Again, there is no shortage of scenarios being discussed. Our base case is a “W” recovery – a rebound, but with dialling up and down of government intervention in the coming 18 months to keep the infection rate (R0) below 1. This phase will be as much about managing public behaviour as epidemiology – social distancing and shielding measures will be the price of resumed activity, until enhanced therapies or vaccines become impactful in 2021.

We have kept the key points from our last checklist and added a Phase 3 assuming a “W” shaped recovery including a deep-dive on global trends we observe and “so what” for African CEOs.

Many African countries simply don’t have the fiscal and monetary tools at their disposal to stimulate economies. How state, multilateral and private sector actors treat the continent’s debts will be pivotal in the coming months as states battle falling tax revenue and huge demands on healthcare systems. This makes the private sector vital in driving recovery and we are determined to play our role in this. Please share this document as widely as you believe it is useful.

We are humbled by the sheer resilience and innovation we see every day and sincerely thank the 42,000 people working for DPI companies and their leaders for all they do every day.

With warm regards,

The DPI Partners