In the months since the COVID-19 outbreak started, it has already wreaked havoc on global economies; It is estimated that almost half the world’s population is at risk of job loss due to COVID-19, and the World Bank has forecasted that the pandemic will cause the largest recession in over 50 years. Industries such as tourism are not expected to fully recover from the economic shock for several years, and global trade and demand are already decreasing.

The economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt globally, but economies classified as ‘emerging’ and ‘developing’ by the World Bank, which includes those in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are likely to be hardest hit. The combination of largely informal workforces, a decrease in export demand, and existing economic instability is expected to result in an outsize impact in countries such as South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia.

In sub-Saharan Africa, it has been predicted that coronavirus will result in the first recession in that region for 25 years. Most countries in the region have not yet experienced their peak in COVID-19 cases, and it’s possible that coronavirus-related measures and the related economic impacts will continue for some time.

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Coronavirus’ Effect on the Economy, Employment and Income in sub-Saharan Africa

Despite these predictions, we don’t know yet how the economic impact of COVID-19 varies based on country, job type, income level, and other factors. In order to provide a more complete picture of the economic impact of COVID-19, GeoPoll has conducted a study in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Mozambique, and South Africa. The main areas of GeoPoll’s study are:

  • Ability to work and income change since the outset of COVID-19
  • Concern over expenses and the ability to pay for basic needs
  • Usage of loans, savings, and income to pay for expenses
  • The impact of COVID-19 on loans and mobile money services
  • Receipt of aid and opinions of government priorities
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The study was conducted by SMS from June – July 2020, with 500 respondents per country or 2,500 total, and a nationally representative sample by age, gender, and location. To download the full PDF report, a 16-page report including breakdowns and analysis by country, job type, income level, and more, please click below. You can also view the results in our interactive dashboard.

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Raw Data


Data: COVID-19’s Economic Impact

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