Some 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy, representing nearly half of the global labour force, are in immediate danger of losing their livelihoods due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.
The informal sector is a large part of employment in African cities. The International Labour Organization estimates that more than 66% of total employment in Sub-Saharan African is in the informal sector. In other words, Africa is likely to get the most impact from the current coronavirus pandemic in loss of livelihoods.
The U.N. agency’s latest report sharply raised its forecast for the devastating impact on jobs and incomes of the COVID-19 disease.
Speaking about the reversed estimates and the ‘massive poverty impact’ that this pandemic is going to have, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, said:
“It shows I think in the starkest possible terms that the jobs employment crisis and all of its consequences is deepening by comparison with our estimates of 3 weeks ago.
“For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future. Millions of businesses around the world are barely breathing. They have no savings or access to credit. These are the real faces of the world of work. If we don’t help them now, they will simply perish.”
Already, the ILO has said that wages of the world’s 2 billion informal workers plunged by an estimated global average of 60% in the first month that the crisis unfolded in each region.
The ILO said prolonged lockdowns and office and plant closures are now expected to lead to an “even” worse fall in total working hours worldwide in the second quarter than what was forecast just three weeks ago.
Worst-hit sectors are manufacturing, accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate and business activities.
The long-term panorama is still unclear.
“As the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the most vulnerable becomes even more urgent,” Ryder added.
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