At the time the Socio-Economic Response Plan is developed to address the impact of COVID-19 in Samoa, the pandemic has already infected over 22 million people and claimed close to 800,000 lives worldwide. The pandemic and its associated impacts show no sign of weakening. While Samoa remains virus-free, most of the Samoan livelihoods have been affected with 2/3 of the households admitting their main income has declined and close to 50% experiencing at least one job loss due to the pandemic-related restrictions.
The previous blog in this series looked at how much Pacific governments were spending in response to COVID-19. Of equal interest is the question of what they are spending on. As part of our Pacific Covid Economic Database research, we have attempted to answer this question for the seven countries of Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu. We have divided governments’ additional COVID-19 expenditure into six categories: health, safety nets, business support, food security, infrastructure and other expenditure.
The COVID-19 pandemic is set to severely derail development gains in Asian and Pacific nations. It compounds pre-crisis levels of food insecurity and malnutrition with job losses, supply chain disruptions, and declines in revenue from key exports and remittances. Globally, WFP predicts that the number of people facing acute food insecurity around the world will almost double to 270 million, including 121 million newly food insecure due to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic is set to severely derail development gains, and could push millions more people into poverty. The number of food insecure people in the region could increase by over 80 percent as the incomes of already economically stressed populations fall further.
Historically, Australia has lacked a coherent policy to attract immigrants with less extensive formal training and education, despite the needs of their aging population and labour market. Recent moves to develop such a policy have thrown up numerous questions, such as how many vocational workers are needed, for which the economic literature has few answers.