by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SIXTY-PERCENT of nationals employed in the biggest economies in Africa before the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have not been able to work after the pandemic.
More than 75 percent of those polled have suffered a drop in incomes.
These are among the dire consequences of the escalating outbreak of the disease that erupted in China at the end of last year and was first reported in the African continent in March.
GeoPoll made these findings after research in Kenya (East Africa’s biggest economy), Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria (Africa’s biggest economy) and South Africa (the continent’s most advanced economy).
Eighty-percent of the 2 500 respondents disclosed their income has decreased during the pandemic.
Those in informal jobs, particularly in trade and agriculture, reported the most widespread and largest falls in incomes.
The International Labour Organisation estimates that the informal sector accounts for over 80 percent of the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The closure of borders, restrictions on movements, and suspended education and hospitality sectors has wrought financial havoc across the African nations studied, with those in informal employment being hardest hit” said Roxana Elliott, Vice President: Marketing and Content, GeoPoll.
The lifting of restrictions is unlikely to repair the damage quickly, with only 57 percent of the previously employed saying they still had work to return to once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Elliot said with many sub-Saharan Africans still excluded from borrowing, it would make paying for basic expenses such as food and rent a challenge for millions over the coming months.
A majority in the nations studied believe their governments should prioritise protecting people from the virus, rather than focus on reopening economies.
Nigeria was the only country where a majority felt reopening the economy should be a priority.
The survey was conducted remotely via SMS from June to July 2020.
Over 8 650 deaths have been confirmed from more than 506 100 COVID-19 cases in Africa.
– CAJ News