The Covid-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on C.A.R.’s economy but appears now somewhat contained. The number of positive cases and related deaths has been very limited over the last few months, even though most containment measures have been progressively loosened. Despite some progress since the February 2019 peace agreement, the security situation remains precarious. Despite some delays in voter registration, the first round of the presidential and general elections is still scheduled on December 27.
A recent World Bank enterprise survey identified access to finance as the top constraint to Doing Business in Nigeria. In this context, the objective of this paper is two-fold: (i) study firm characteristics associated with more access to finance and export diversification; and (ii) quantify the impact of these structural obstacles on firm performance. Results suggest that (i) larger and export-oriented firms are about 40 percentage points less likely to report access to finance as a business obstacle, while firms perceiving access to finance as a constraint are, on average, about 10-40 percentage points less likely to be export-oriented diversified firms; and (ii) better access to finance and export diversification can help firm employment —as much as 80 percent higher— and capacity utilization. Results are largely robust to different specifications and estimation methods.