Policies to address COVID-19’s impact on Africa’s informal sector

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted livelihoods in Africa by reducing earnings and limiting economic activity. Among the hardest hit economically are informal jobs, which account for 86% of all employment in the region (ILO, 2018). Informal workers are often not incorporated into social welfare systems and rely heavily on informal coping mechanisms to manage shocks.

Ongoing IGC surveys of traders in Nigeria and Sierra Leone show they have less customers, challenges restocking, and drops in income after national lockdowns were implemented in those countries. Informal traders are particularly impacted by social distancing rules and have less access to clean water and sanitation. Additionally, with 90% of women across Africa employed in the informal sector, COVID-19 threatens their economic self-sufficiency from plying their trade and contributing to the livelihood of their household.

This event explores the impact of COVID-19 on informal workers and discusses necessary policy measures to enhance social protection coverage and support mechanisms to protect informal workers if they lose their livelihoods.

More speakers will be announced shortly.

When: 14:00 – 15:15 (BST), Thursday, 6 August