Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development

ADDRESSING THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON WOMEN AND GIRLS IN WEST AFRICA

The Covid-19 pandemic is a severe global crisis undermining and reversing sustainable development and poverty alleviation progress. With limited statistics it may be difficult to quantify the economic impacts. Women and girls in West African anglophone countries are disproportionately affected. They are particularly vulnerable with a higher likelihood of infection, reduced and vulnerable incomes, lost years of education, reduced access to health care and nutrition, and higher exposure to violence. Gains in gender equality outcomes are being lost. Child mortality is already bad and may become worse.

There are several targeted policy outcomes that both achieve international commitments and UN SDGs. These include international partnerships to deliver feeding programs, continued vaccination and health support and supporting in particular women who are front line workers or providing essential services. Extension of micro-credit may also assist women and girls rebound economically and provide essential minimum social security nets. There is a need to minimise the risk of avoidable and irreversible health issues, minimum human rights and lost earning potential. There are many existing measures being rolled out across west Africa that are scalable and may be replicated in different countries, provided there is sufficient financial and technical support for effective delivery.

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