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Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 in Four African Countries


  • Josephson,Anna Leigh
  • Kilic,Talip
  • Michler,Jeffrey David


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the attempts to limit its spread have resulted in profound economic impacts, and a significant contraction in the global economy is expected. This paper provides some of the first evidence on the socioeconomic impacts of and responses to the pandemic among households and individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa. To do so, reduced-form econometric methods are applied to longitudinal household survey data from Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Uganda -- originating from the pre-COVID-19 face-to-face household surveys and from the novel phone surveys that are being implemented during the pandemic. The headline findings are fourfold. First, although false beliefs about COVID-19 remain prevalent, government action to limit the spread of the disease is associated with greater individual knowledge of the disease and increased uptake of precautionary measures. Second, 256 million individuals -- 77 percent of the population in the four countries -- are estimated to live in households that have lost income due to the pandemic. Third, attempts to cope with this loss are exacerbated by the inability to access medicine and staple foods among 20 to 25 percent of the households in each country, and food insecurity is disproportionately borne by households that were already impoverished prior to the pandemic. Fourth, student-teacher contact has dropped from a pre-COVID-19 rate of 96 percent to just 17 percent among households with school-age children. These findings can help inform decisions by governments and international organizations on measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and reveal the need for continued monitoring.

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  • Josephson,Anna Leigh & Kilic,Talip & Michler,Jeffrey David, 2020. "Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 in Four African Countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9466, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:9466

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    Cited by:

    1. Joanna Upton & Elizabeth Tennant & Kathryn J. Fiorella & Christopher B. Barrett, 2023. "COVID-19, Household Resilience, and Rural Food Systems: Evidence from Southern and Eastern Africa," Palgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy, in: Christophe Béné & Stephen Devereux (ed.), Resilience and Food Security in a Food Systems Context, chapter 0, pages 281-320, Palgrave Macmillan.
    2. Abdullah Kaviani Rad & Redmond R. Shamshiri & Hassan Azarm & Siva K. Balasundram & Muhammad Sultan, 2021. "Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Food Security and Agriculture in Iran: A Survey," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(18), pages 1-20, September.
    3. Joshua Brubaker & Talip Kilic & Philip Wollburg, 2021. "Representativeness of individual-level data in COVID-19 phone surveys: Findings from Sub-Saharan Africa," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(11), pages 1-27, November.
    4. Fitzpatrick, Anne & Beg, Sabrin & Derksen, Laura & Karing, Anne & Kerwin, Jason & Lucas, Adrienne M. & Ordaz Reynoso, Natalia & Squires, Munir, 2021. "Health knowledge and non-pharmaceutical interventions during the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 190(C), pages 33-53.
    5. Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak & Edward Miguel, 2022. "The Economics of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Poor Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 14(1), pages 253-285, August.
    6. Bolarin, Olufemi & Komolafe, Sola Emmanuel & Ajiboye, Damilola John, 2022. "Adaptation Strategies of Small-Scale Farmers to Challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic in Osun State, Nigeria," Problems of World Agriculture / Problemy Rolnictwa Światowego, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, vol. 22(1), March.
    7. Kalle Hirvonen & Alan de Brauw & Gashaw T. Abate, 2021. "Food Consumption and Food Security during the COVID‐19 Pandemic in Addis Ababa," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 103(3), pages 772-789, May.
    8. Furbush, Ann & Josephson, Anna & Kilic, Talip & Michler, Jeffrey, 2021. "The Evolving Impact of COVID-19 in Four African Countries," 2021 Conference, August 17-31, 2021, Virtual 315261, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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    Health Care Services Industry; Gender and Development; Educational Sciences; Nutrition; Food Security;
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