Kenya calls on African governments to adopt social protection programs amid pandemic

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NAIROBI, March 31 (Xinhua) — Kenya on Wednesday called on African governments to adopt social protection programs as part of efforts to mitigate economic challenges arising from COVID-19 restrictions.

“If governments have channels in place that they can use to put income into people’s hands when they lose their livelihoods, they can forestall losses that might set economic recovery back years,” Mutahi Kagwe, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health, said at the 23rd African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) virtual senior policy seminar.

The forum which features delegates from across the continent, including central bank governors, finance and economic affairs ministers among other stakeholders, is discussing the global COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for the African economies.

Kagwe said social protection initiatives support positive health outcomes by mitigating economic shocks, such as income losses resulting from the measures governments have imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Participants at the forum said the pandemic has brought to the fore economic challenges and exposed many institutions’ frailty across the continent. Kagwe advised economic policy stakeholders to consider adopting social protection measures such as the Kazi Mtaani (youth community work) initiative.

“The objective is to avoid panic sales of productive assets, ensure households keep a roof over their heads, help small businesses to pay wages of furloughed staff, and to provide public works employment while the informal sector is paralyzed,” he said. Enditem

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