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

Racky Balde, Mohamed Boly & Elvis Avenyo


The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis that has put a local spotlight on sub-Saharan Africa’s socio-economic challenges. This paper presents real time survey evidence on the labour market effects of COVID-19 in Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso. We investigate how informality exacerbates the immediate 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 and find that workers in the informal economy tend to be more hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Informal workers are more likely to lose their jobs and tend to experience decrease in earnings. These findings also hold 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.

Keywords: COVID-19, Crisis, Labour Market, Informality, Africa

JEL Classification: J46, J63, O17, O55

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