The impact of Covid 19 on the African workforce

May 10, 2021 | by: David Kodjani

The COVID-19 pandemic began to heavily affect African economies and wipe out livelihoods long before it reached the shores of the continent.

This is explained in particular by the fall in demand for basic products from Africa, the flight of capital invested on the continent, the almost total collapse of activities linked to tourism and air transport, due to lockdowns and border closures, and the depreciation of local currencies due to the deterioration of the current balance of payments. African countries cannot afford to wait for the virus to be contained before implementing economic support and socialprograms.

COVID-19 has become a global emergency, given its impact on the entire world population and economy. Beyond the impact on health, COVID 19 has severely affected the economy through lockdown and restrictive measures, which have been put in place in most African countries - with lasting socio-economic implications.

The impact of the containment measures adopted to mitigate the pandemic far exceeded that of the initial trade shocks and travel restrictions introduced soon after the outbreak. The uncertainty surrounding the virus and the resulting policy measures, such as physical distancing and confinement, have resulted in reduced working hours and lost jobs and income.

At the same time, countless millions of workers have been put on leave, or worse, lost their jobs and their income.

Informal sector workers in Africa (85.8% of the workforce), who constitute a large mass, cannot comply with instructions for physical distancing and home confinement without serious consequences for their lives and their families. means of subsistence. Many working people in households are said to be forced to choose between the virus and food at home. In addition, nearly 90% of employed women in Africa work in the informal sector and do not benefit from any social protection. Households run by women are particularly vulnerable.

The pandemic has left the world of work with higher unemployment, higher inequalities, greater poverty, higher debt levels and, in all likelihood, social upheaval. In addition, the pandemic has reaffirmed the need to implement the centenary declaration, the Abidjan declaration, and has clearly shown the human price of failure.

Source: United Nations

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