COVID-19 and the informal economy in Africa

The impact of COVID-19 on the informal economy in Africa and the related policy responses

Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is just beginning to take shape. While the delayed spread of the Coronavirus has given the continent some preparatory head time, the varying economic, social and political contexts are making it harder for the region to draw many relevant lessons from the responses in China, for example, or western countries.

Briefing note | 14 April 2020
This brief looks into the informality context of many African countries. In particular, the brief reviews the emerging policy responses to COVID-19 in Africa, assesses ways in which such responses could affect the efforts towards the formalization of the informal economy, and lastly, recommends some measures that could help minimize the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for those who operate in the informal economy in Africa, and therefore the majority of its population.