The Impact of COVID-19 in Ethiopia: Policy Brief

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted economic activities and livelihoods all around the world. Despite increasing levels of vaccination, the coronavirus continues to spread, with unprecedented impact on people’s lives. Ethiopia is no exception; COVID-19 has upended livelihoods in Ethiopia, with significant implications for poverty reduction. Compounded by ongoing conflict in Tigray, desert locust outbreaks, and steep inflation, the pandemic has proved uniquely challenging for policymakers trying to balance measures to address the social and health impacts, with initiatives to alleviate the economic strain resulting from movement restrictions and the six-month-long State of Emergency, which ended in September 2020. The COVID-19 situation continues to be precarious with the recent spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, and varying impact to date across different regions of the country, with notable disparities between urban and rural areas and different socioeconomic groups. This policy brief examines the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 in Ethiopia so far, and suggests policy responses required to augment household welfare recovery and sustain poverty reduction.