Economic impacts of COVID-19 in urban and rural Africa: Surprising results from five countries


June 2, 2021 - <>, A. Adenikinju, <>, Antony Chapoto, N. F. Faye, <>, J. Olwande, Tom Reardon, Veronique Theriault, <>

Key Findings

  • The impacts of COVID-19 on incomes and access to food across five African countries were similar in rural and urban areas, a finding strongly contrary to expectations that impacts would be worst in urban areas.
  • Negative impacts on income were 35%-55% smaller than early predictions. Yet impacts were large enough to drive millions of households below income levels typically associated with poverty and to reduce the quantity and quality of their diet.
  • Policymakers should realize that restrictions put in place in a pandemic affect rural and urban, farming and non-farming, and richer and poorer households.



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