South Asia has the highest share of informal employment among the world's developing regions. More than 80 percent of total employment in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan is informal. These workers are excluded from labor laws and social protection schemes that apply to organized labor. Despite rapid overall growth, the informal sector remains stubbornly large in South Asia.
Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu says that South Africa will introduce a universal basic income grant as part of a range of packages to help the country’s unemployed – but this plan is still a couple of years away from becoming a reality, analysts say. According to Zulu, the basic income grant is already in play in some capacity, with the current Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant paying out R350 per month to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This grant only applies to those who are not getting any other form of support from the government.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a large negative impact on all economies given the health shock, global economic slowdown, and the impact of domestic containment measures. The outcome is people and firms are far more vulnerable to other shocks, such as droughts, storms, floods, given they are less financially secure and in some areas already suffering from food insecurity and conflict.
In this note, we review Colombia's handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The first line of policy response slowed down the pace of contagion and avoided excess deaths, providing additional time to strengthen the health system and increase ICU capacity. However, the challenges that remain are significant. Testing and contact tracing capacity is inadequate, and ICU occupancy rate is in red alert. There is lockdown fatigue, driving people back to the streets despite the virus expansion.
Slide presentation of the webinar held on 28 July 2020. The dramatic increase in the number of countries that have adopted social protection responses to the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to recognize the potential of social protection and enshrine these measures into systemic approaches going beyond mere ad hoc crisis responses.