The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world economy has been destabilizing. Global unemployment has shot up at very high rates. In the United States, it was anticipated that March would see a loss of 100, 000 jobs, however, March saw a loss of 701,000 jobs around the US. It is likely that this number could be much higher due to less than average census response rates and a number of workers identifying as “employed but absent from work” as they hope that their jobs will be waiting for them in the event that this economic situation passes. This sentiment is similar to what we can see all around Africa. It suggests that the world is heading for a global recession like that of 2008–09.
In Africa, jobs in the production sector are at risk because there are limitations on the movement of their produce. For example, in West and Central Africa, despite a good agricultural season in 2019/20, “market closure, restriction on internal borders movement limit markets access.” This suggests that the incomes anticipated by farmers are not attainable. With this anticipated income becoming less of a certainty, farmers may not be able to adequately prepare for the planting period in May and June. The majority of the rural population depends on subsistence farming in West and Central Africa, and with this uncertainty in food production, a good number of people might lose a lot of money and have a lot less food.
Coming to Nigeria, as new cases continue to be uncovered and the lockdown in affected areas continues, Nigeria is being pushed closer to an economic crisis. Over half of Nigeria’s GDP is made up of the informal sector and these include workers such as small-scale manufacturers and service providers like hairdressers. This pandemic has drastically reduced the demand for their work and impacted their daily living. Numerous workers in Nigeria live hand-to-mouth, are unable to buy in bulk and are simply biding time; hoping for this situation to end. With no end in sight, it has become increasingly difficult for them.
You and I can help in this pandemic. This issue is a global one but every little bit we do helps. Rubies bank has set up ‘The COVID-19 Charity Fund’ which supports different non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Nigeria that are working to support those at risk doing this time. The aim of this fund is to dampen the negative effect on those who are struggling to make ends meet in light of a situation that no one could have anticipated.
To donate, please go to donate.rubies.ng and donate whatever you can to any NGO of your choice and hopefully, we will be able to make a difference in someone’s life during this period.