Original Research

What impedes micro, small and medium firms’ growth the most in South Africa? Evidence from World Bank Enterprise Surveys

A. M. Mthimkhulu, M. J. Aziakpono
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 46, No 2 | a88 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v46i2.88 | © 2018 A. M. Mthimkhulu, M. J. Aziakpono | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 March 2018 | Published: 30 June 2015

About the author(s)

A. M. Mthimkhulu, University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa
M. J. Aziakpono, University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa

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The growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is often regarded as a solution to persistent unemployment in developing countries. Studies have shown that access to finance is the most serious obstacle to MSMEs’ growth. This paper investigates key obstacles to the growth of MSMEs in South Africa using the World Bank Enterprise Surveys of 2003 and 2007. Two approaches are used to determine the key obstacles. The first improves on the simple count-of-ratings method used by many researchers. The second estimates the effects of obstacles on growth through sequential multivariate regressions based on the Growth Diagnostics framework by Hausmann, Rodrik & Velasco (2005) and identifies two levels of obstacles’ intensities: binding constraints with negative and significant effects and constraints with notable effects whose negative effects are significant but less than the binding. From both count- and regression-based analyses, access to finance is a relatively less important obstacle. The count-based analysis finds crime to be the top obstacle. In the regressions, ‘courts’, which refers to the efficacy of the legal system and thus related to crime, is binding. Electricity and transportation of goods are the constraints with notable effects.


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