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?

Phone Surveys Confirm the Widespread Effects of COVID-19 on Jobs in Developing Countries

Photo credit: Victor Idrogo / World Bank   Authors: David Newhouse and Michael Weber The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on economies and workers worldwide — but the impacts are difficult to quantify, because the pandemic has made traditional face-to-face data collection impossible in most places. The World Bank projects that These projections, however, are…

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#19 In Turkey, One in Four Could Lose Their Jobs Due to COVID-19

Photo: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank   Authors: Sırma Demir Şeker, Efşan Nas Özen, and Ayşenur Acar Erdoğan COVID-19 has brought existing economic vulnerabilities into view globally. Turkey is no exception as the Turkish labor market already has significant challenges: exchange rate depreciation and inflation, low female labor force participation, high youth unemployment, and…

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#18 What We Have Learned About the Labor Market Impacts of COVID-19 in four African countries

  Authors: Michael Weber, Amparo Palacios-Lopez and Ivette Contreras-González The first wave of empirical results from rapid phone surveys in Sub Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda) confirm the devastating labor market impacts of the pandemic. But they also show that the jobs impacts are heterogeneous, with particularly severe impacts on the urban informal…

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#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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