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Coronavirus May Wipe Out 150 Million Jobs In Africa


April 16, 2020

There are currently about 440 million formal and informal African jobs. A third of that—150 million—is what McKinsey says will be wiped out by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Lockdowns across the continent are already depriving people of their livelihoods in what is the poorest continent in the world. The current trajectory coupled with already existing challenges indicates that things might only get worse.

McKinsey’s Finding Africa’s Path report says between 9 million and 18 million formal jobs could be lost to the crisis. Furthermore, 30 million to 35 million workers could experience a reduction in wages and working hours.

100 million of the 300 million informal African jobs might stand to chance of being lost altogether. In major sectors—such as manufacturing, retail and wholesale, tourism, and construction—the jobs of more than half the workforce could be affected, McKinsey said.

The effects of the disease’s outbreak are numerous, especially in a place like Africa. Countries were shutdowns or curfews have been instituted have seen a decline in business activities even as the number of virus cases rise.

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Due to the disruptions, the World Bank says the entire continent is at risk of falling into its first recession in 25 years as its economies contract and growth is hampered.

In an initial report, the American consultancy firm described the coronavirus epidemic as an unfolding health and economic crises that would cost Africa hundreds of billions in GDP.

It’s no wonder why McKinsey now says the region is under-equipped to fund medical response. It says Africa needs to spend USD 5 Bn on health in the next 100 days.

“The entire continent may have just 20,000 beds in intensive care units, equivalent to 1.7 ICU beds per 100,000 people,” the firm said. “By comparison, China has an estimated 3.6 ICU beds per 100,000 people, while the U.S. has 29.4.”

Image: WEF

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