Labour Market effects of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa: An Informality lens from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal

Racky Balde, UNU-MERIT

Joint work with Mohamed BOLY, Université Clermont Auvergne and Elvis AVENYO, University of Oxford.

This paper presents real-time survey evidence from Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso on the labour market effects of COVID-19. We investigate how informality exacerbates the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on job loss, decrease in earnings, and difficulties for individuals to support their basic needs. We document a reduction in economic activities in some specific sectors and find that workers in the informal economy are hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Informal workers are more likely to lose their jobs and tend to experience a decrease in earnings.These effects worsen for those who work in high-risk sectors. Informal workers equally appear to be more likely to struggle to meet their basic needs in the midst of the pandemic. We discuss the policy implications of these findings.

About the speaker

Racky Balde is a Ph.D. research fellow at UNU-MERIT. She holds a Master's degree in Applied Economics from Gaston Berger University in Senegal. She  worked at  CREFAT research institute and  CRES institute as research assistant in Senegal.  She had been involved in different projects on demographic dividend in Africa and on the determinants of poverty in developing countries. She also worked on a project of the Partnership for Economic Policy. The project was about the assessment of the effects of ECOWAS reforms on employment, growth, and welfare in Senegal. Her research interests encompass labor market dynamics, self-employment, informality, gender gap, and skills. Her PhD thesis focuses on the formalization of the informal economy.

She has been involved in teaching activities at UNU-MERIT and FASSOS. She was a teaching assistant in econometrics, micro/macroeconomics courses. In 2019, she tutored an online impact evaluation course offered by UNU-MERIT to professionals who want to hone their skills in impact evaluation methods. She was one of the coordinators of the metech seminar at UNU-MERIT and a member of the organizing team of  the 2019 UNU-MERIT internal conference.

For Zoom meeting details, please contact the organizers at

Venue: via Zoom

Date: 20 May 2020

Time: 14:00 - 15:00  CEST