While Afrobarometer’s report offers data, the lack of readiness was pretty much highlighted in real-time amid the lockdowns as the dependence of the informal economy workers on day-to-day, cash-based commerce for survival ultimately undermined the effectiveness of Covid-19 restrictions.

Africa’s economies are dominated by their informal sectors which account for between 30%  to 90% of all non-agricultural job and more than 40% of many African countries’ gross domestic product. In Nigeria—Africa’s largest economy, the lack of adequate, government-led social welfare interventions resulted in ordinary citizens bridging the gap through food banks and online donations. In a rare bright spot however, the social welfare crisis birthed a new, rapidly adopted digital cash transfer program in Togo through which the government paid $4.3 million to its poorest citizens within the first week of its launch.

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