COVID-19 effects erode economic gains in Somalia: study

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MOGADISHU, March 31 (Xinhua) — The effects of COVID-19 have erased economic gains made in Somalia since the drought of 2017 and will be felt for years to come, says a new report launched in Mogadishu on Wednesday.

The report released by Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) forecasts Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to have slumped 1.5 percent in 2020.

“Compared to pre-pandemic growth forecasts of 3.2 percent growth in 2020, this suggests a loss of 300 million dollars,” says the report which analyzes the findings of over 20 previous assessments completed in 2020.

It says overall exports have slumped by 37 percent and by up to 50 percent for livestock, devastating rural and nomadic communities for whom livestock exports are the main source of income.

The study predicts that economic recovery will take at least two years and that social impacts are likely to last much longer, particularly for women, who faced existing inequalities in access to education, healthcare and formal employment.

The report recommends greater investments in healthcare infrastructure, including solar power for clinics that lack access to electricity which is vital for vaccine cold chains, expansion in credit facilities for micro and small businesses to help them weather external shocks and an expansion in digital services to widen access and reduce costs.

Other recommendations include better protection for women and improvements to legislation around sexual offences, investment in a green and circular economy and directing remittances into more productive assets, such as diaspora bonds. Enditem

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