Do the economic consequences of Covid-19 advance or hinder the structural transformation in Africa?

The Covid-19 crisis might be hindering structural transformation, but it would be an illusion to assume that it sweeps away the serious problems that existed prior to the pandemic.

Photo: Loyiso Maciko

The currently unfolding Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis has resulted in economic shutdowns and supply chain disruptions with global ripple effects across all economic sectors in a rare “twin supply-demand shock”. On the African continent the severe economic effects have already been felt in the commodity sector – as demand for Africa’s raw materials and commodities in China has declined and Africa’s access to industrial components and manufactured goods from that country has been hampered. This has caused further uncertainty in a continent already grappling with widespread geopolitical and economic instability.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit vulnerable, low-wage workers who have lost their income and jobs. These blue-collar jobs are often held by people of colour, and especially women of colour. In contrast, many white-collar workers can work from home and receive their salaries, order supplies from delivery workers, the so-called independent contractors with few rights. These inequities are likely to grow and become increasingly obvious the longer the pandemic persists. Click here to read full paper.

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the organization, FES South Africa.)

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