The global outbreak of COVID-19 has had it’s spread over several countries and continents and has affected a large number of people. Over a million people are affected globally and tens of thousands are dying as a result of the fast spread of this virus.
The unimaginable effect of this has compelled leaders and heads of state, especially in affected countries to partially lock down, if not totally, in their major cities and hotspots in order to contain the spread of the virus.
As a result of locking down and the encouragement of social distancing, most jobs are temporarily shut down. The situation exempts a few institutions and persons who provide essential services; thus, a higher percentage of people stay home somewhat mandatorily without working.
The case has raised so many challenges. The absence of a globally approved vaccine for the time being has also limited the vision of when to expect absolute victory over the virus. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the world economy cannot escape the effect of this outbreak in one way or the other.
Among the various economic effects are:
To begin with, we need to appreciate those businesses who have kept their staff on, who have tried their possible best to assure their staff of income security and a sense of job security in the medium.
This pandemic has put us all in a situation out of the ordinary which is conveying shockwaves to various jobs in Africa especially in the low and middle-income countries, most of these industries and services who are most affected are low income workers in the informal sectors.
These workers stand a high risk of losing their jobs and falling into poverty after this pandemic. They are likely to be faced with the challenge of regaining their livelihoods.
The current lockdown measures of various governments in these affected countries have brought uncertainty into the lives of these workers substantially. This again, is likely to compel most of these workers to return to the rural areas.
As this is the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money or other resources, it is envisaged that most people will not have the financial capability to afford even two square-meal as a result of the inability of some companies to pay workers full salaries.
Furthermore, in Africa where agriculture serves as our main economic forte, the spread of this virus to our rural areas where many of our food produce are cultivated, is likely to be a doom to us. As being witnessed already, we may stand a high risk of emerging food insecurity which in turn leads to inflation of the price of these produce or agricultural products. This may result from the unavailability of them in the market. This economic effect pertains to our local consumption, as well as exports.
For instance, in Ghana where we largely depend on our cocoa, cotton etc., the lockdown is certainly affecting production and productivity. With reference to the fact that most production sites are usually outside the noted hotspots on lockdown – if appropriate strategies are not put in place, the spread of the virus to these production areas, especially the rural areas will mean an absolute cut in production. Which people are going cultivate our cocoa, cotton etc. and how do we get our agricultural produce?
This is a call for our leaders to really take firm decisions to protect the individuals and also lay down strict measures to reduce the spread of the virus, even if it means discomfort. The choice remains between life and death in this season of covid19.
This is a Guest post. The author, Michael Annor Tenkorang, is the Procurement Officer for Devtraco Plus