COVID-19's impacts on incomes and food consumption in urban and rural areas are surprisingly similar: Evidence from five African countries
Maredia, KM., Adenikinju, A., Belton, B., Chapoto, A., Faye, NF., Liverpool-Tasie, LSO., Olwande, J., Reardon, T., Theriault, V., Tschirley, D., (2022) “COVID-19's impacts on incomes and food consumption in urban and rural areas are surprisingly similar: Evidence from five African countries” Global Food Security, 33, 100633.
African governments imposed mobility restrictions to suppress the spread of COVID-19. Many observers feared these measures would dramatically decrease incomes and increase food insecurity and anticipated that urban households would be much more impacted than rural ones. We use rural and urban survey data from 4000 households across five African countries to assess the pandemic's effect on incomes and food consumption. We find that a large share of the population saw incomes drop between March and July 2020. But these decreases were 43–63% smaller than predictions and early estimates, and highly correlated with the severity of restrictions. The income and food consumption impacts of the COVID-19 shock were widespread over both rural and urban areas. Policy making during a pandemic should recognize that restrictive measures will affect rural and urban, farming and non-farming, and richer and poorer households.