COVID-19 and employment
Insights from the sub-Saharan Africa experience
The COVID-19 pandemic poses risks not only for people’s health but also economic wellbeing. While the full socio-economic consequences remain uncertain, its impact on the labour market has become a key issue of global concern. Especially low-income earners performing jobs in precarious, informal sectors of the economy without unemployment insurance, limited access to healthcare, and no back-up savings are most at risk.
This implies that already disadvantaged groups will sufer disproportionately from the adverse efects. Policy makers in the Global South have responded to the adverse employment and income efects of the pandemic with a range of measures varying from cash transfers to the poor to loans to small enterprises to keep them afloat. In this note, we offer some insights on the impact of COVID-19 on employment and the policy responses that developing countries have taken, drawing from the sub-Saharan African experience.
We frst provide an overview of the progress of the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, and the mitigation and suppression measures taken by sub-Saharan African governments. We then discuss what we know so far on the employment effect of the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.
Finally, we discuss policy responses to the pandemic, focusing on the experience of one sub-Saharan African country, Ghana.