COVID-19 Update

 The unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is a massive wake-up call to transform the way we tackle global challenges. The pandemic has revealed the frailty of our systems and our approach, which do not address the rapidly converging and exponentially complex nature of global issues.


COVID-19 has plunged the Global Economy into worst recession since World War II. According to the World Bank forecasts, the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year.

Recession is EXPECTED ACROSS ALL QUARTERS OF 2020 with a 8.4% DIP Anticipated For Q2 2020.

Impact of COVID-19 on Informal Economy Workers

An estimated 2 billion people worldwide are toiling away in the informal sector.

Between 2010 and 2016, informal work made up around 40% of GDP accross Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The World Bank estimates 50%-60% of workers are self-employed in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific.

Informal workers on average have incomes 19% lower than formal workers and have limited savings and access to social benefits making them particularly vulnerable.

On the one-third of Emerging Market and Developing Economies with the most pervasive informality, unemployment benefits, on average, are only available to less than 2.5% of the population.

While countries around the globe have adopted programs in response to the COVID 19, it does not cover the informal sector.

FSI Recommendations

Governments should collect more data on the size and nature of the informal sector.

Determine mechanisms to quickly deploy economic support to informal businesses and individuals, and establishing methods to target them effectively, is especially challenging for the undocumented economy.

Protect economic sectors that rely extensively on informal workers and can otherwise put food security at risk, such as the agriculture and service sector.

Expansion of social protection coverage to informal sector including timely cash transfers, food or in-kind distributions.

Efforts should be made to maintain agricultural supply chains and strengthen the market linkages for local producers, while promoting decent work.

Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant Workers

An estimated 164 million migrant workers globally estimated in 2017, with almost half of the workers located in North America and Europe.

Remittance flows in 2020 to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are projected to fall by 19.7 per cent to USD 445 billion, one of the sharpest declines in recent history.

Countries with high dependency on remittance flow for economic growth with take the biggest hit with impact on migrant workers.

Migrant remittances provide an economic lifeline to poor households in many countries; a reduction in remittance flows could increase poverty and reduce households’ access to much-needed health services.

FSI Recommendations

Ensuring equal access to healthcare for migrant workers; in Portugal the migrant workers were granted temporary citizen status so that they have access to healthcare and other social protection.

Governments would do well to consider short-, medium-, and long-term interventions to support: (i) stranded migrants; (ii) the remittance infrastructure; (iii) loss of subsistence income for families back home; and (iv) access to health, housing, education, and jobs for migrant workers in host/transit countries and their families back home.

Disproportionate Impact on Women

Women have greater exposure to infection as they comprise 70% of health workers, including midwives, nurses, pharmacists and community health workers on the frontlines.

With the closure of schools and day-care services, women parents or guardians will often be expected to take on additional caregiving responsibilities, further restricting their work and economic opportunities.

Women in developing countries are disproportionately engaged in informal work and other forms of vulnerable employment depriving them of any labor and social security measures.

Gender digital divide.

Lockdown and other measures restricting movement increased gender-based violence incidences.

-Increased exposure to control and restrictions by their abusers for women and girls already in abusive situations, with little or no recourse to seek support.

-Unwillingness and limited access to services needed by the victims such as shelter homes and health-care due to fear of virus contraction.

FSI Recommendations

Apply gender lens to the design of fiscal stimulus package and social assistance programs and include women in decision-making for emergency response and economic planning. 

Expand and provide inclusive social protection for caregivers to mitigate the effects of the overload of unpaid care work.

Expanding the capacity of shelters for victims of violence by re-purposing other spaces, such as empty hotels, or education institutions, to accommodate quarantine needs, and integrating considerations of accessibility for all.

Promote equal caregiving responsibilities of all parents and guardians and flexible, family-friendly workpractices.

Designating domestic violence shelters as essential services during and increasing resources to them.

Raise awareness in an accessible manner and through different channels about how victims can seek help and ensure immediate law enforcement to remove the abuser from the home.

Putting in place accessible, diversified and proactive systems to alert authorities and protect victims. Mechanism for discreet coded messages to report domestic violence should be set up.

Access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Two out of five people in the world do not have a handwashing facility with soap and water on premises.

Almost half of the schools in the world do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water available to students.

FSI Recommendations

Programs aimed at promoting best hand hygiene practices should be designed to raise public awareness about hand hygiene and governments should ensure the availability of the necessary infrastructure.

Sanitation workers should have proper training and access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

Guarantee that everyone has access to a minimum level of water and sanitation prioritizing access for people who are  living in vulnerable conditions such as shelters, refugee camps or detention centres.

Provide practical and financial support to water and sanitation service providers. 



COVID-19 Update