As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic spreads relentlessly across the globe, the spillover could be enormous, especially in Low Income Countries (LICs) with rudimentary public health networks, fragile economies and incomplete social protection systems.

With the pandemic now starting to gather momentum in Africa, repercussions from the unprecedented downturn in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) economies are already impacting jobs in the global south. Huge negative capital flows have rocked emerging economies. Attempted lockdowns have generated major disruptions in economies characterized by high levels of informality and by fractured, incomplete social protection systems. In such settings, measures intended to “flatten the curve” of viral transmission might have generated increased transmissions, as thousands of informal migrant workers have crowded together trying return home. And where such internal migrants play key roles in economic life, the disruption of labor supplies is affecting harvests and food production.

In the absence of adequate public policy responses, there is no guarantee that these effects will be limited to a transitory, “V shaped” downturn. The world economy could be facing a deep, “U” shaped recession, or even an “L – shaped” recession, with no obvious end point, like the great depression of the 1930s.

So, what can governments and international organizations do right away to support workers and firms to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, preserve jobs and incomes and prepare the way for a rapid recovery?

#15 COVID-19 can teach us a lot about social protection and jobs: Reflections based on the Greek experience

Photo by Courtney Hall on Unsplash Authors: Mauro Testaverde  and Gordon Betcherman The COVID-19 pandemic has affected labor markets everywhere. In some countries, like the US and Canada, unemployment skyrocketed to levels not seen in living memory. In others, including several in Europe, things have looked very different, with few layoffs and workers often remaining attached to their…

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#13 Why economic inclusion programs matter during COVID-19

People take precautions in Mali against COVID-19 (coronavirus). Photo credit: Ousmnane Traore/World Bank Authors: Puja Vasudeva Dutta, Colin Andrews, Aude de Montesquiou, Timothy Clay, and Sarang Chaudhary This blog post is based on the forthcoming Partnership for Economic Inclusion Policy Note Series: Economic Inclusion for the Poorest & COVID-19: Adaptation and Early Priorities for Medium-…

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#12 Who can really work from home?

Governments of developing countries should consider WFH as a crucial part of the new digital economy when they invest in broadband infrastructure. Photo credit: World Bank Authors: Maho Hatayama, Mariana Viollaz, and Hernan Winkler The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and implementation of social distancing policies around the world has raised the question of how many jobs…

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#9 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the times of COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Challenges and Opportunities

Nurses listen during a training program to learn more about child and adolescent mental health in Monrovia, Liberia/Photo credit: World Bank Authors: Margo Hoftijzer, Victoria Levin, Indhira Santos and Michael Weber   Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs are well-placed to play an important role in the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. They have significant…

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#8 Digital public works – a viable policy option for the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) jobs crisis?

A photogrid of young people working remotely/from home. Credit to image source available below Author: Michael Weber I argue in this blog that public works can be modernized using digital technology to leverage access for low-income households and communities. This complements previous blogs in this series about how public works can generate incomes and work…

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#7 “Suspended until further notice”: is there a role for public works in COVID-19 (Coronavirus) response?

Eastern DRC earlier this year – with appropriate safeguards (individual protective equipment, physical distance between workers, etc.)/Photo credit: Paul Bance Authors: Paul Bance and Ugo Gentilini What is happening to public works during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis so far? In a previous blog, we argued that public works will be important in supporting informal workers…

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