It’s been almost one year since the first recorded case of the coronavirus. The World Health Organisation made it public on December 31, 2019, but the world is still suffering. All efforts to develop a sustainable cure or vaccine have failed and the global economy has taken a major hit. The United States government injected millions of dollars into the American economy to stimulate growth but this hasn’t done much to curb the rising unemployment due to Covid-19. This article will look at the impact of COVID-19 on developing countries.
People have been forced to go to trade schools or vocational schools for job training and opt for skills training just so they can earn a living amid the pandemic. If first-world countries like the United States and the United Kingdom are recording major losses, how are developing countries coping? What is the impact of Covid on developing countries?
Covid-19 and Developing Countries
According to the United Nations and other concerned bodies, the coronavirus pandemic has affected developing nations significantly. This isn’t limited to short-term effects like death and infection rates. Most of the negative consequences of the virus will be difficult to overcome long term.
It’s no news that these developing countries have fewer resources than the developed world. Even before the pandemic started, most of these countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America were struggling with unemployment, and low life expectancy, among other problems. Now, things have moved from bad to worst.
Disrupting the International Supply Chain
Many of these developing countries rely heavily on trade relations with developed countries to survive. Developing countries that are rich in natural resources have stimulated economic growth by shipping these resources to the developed world. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted their supply chains forcing them to look for alternatives.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) states that developing countries from around the world are estimated to lose about $220 billion due to the border closure of major trading partners. To this end, plans are being put in place to aid these countries and prevent a total economic blackout.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 90 developing countries from around the world have applied for financial aid from the International Monetary Fund. Some member countries have started benefiting from their debt relief already. The IMF has been forced to suspend bank debt payments in the poorest countries around the world.
Lack of Diversification in Developing Countries
According to Tomasz Michalski, an economics professor at HEC Paris, developing countries are struggling because of a lack of diversification. Depending significantly on exportation is not a sustainable form of economic stimulation and it cannot save these countries in times of emergency. A case in point is the coronavirus pandemic.
There is little to no room for fiscal and monetary intervention in these developing countries. In Africa for example, economies have been unable to bounce back after border closure due to fiscal inflexibility. The United Nations is focusing on diversification in developing countries but the damage has already been done.
Crippling the Already Weak Healthcare System
The impact of Covid has crippled the already weak healthcare system of developing nations, exposing all its imperfections. For years, people in developing nations have been forced to apply for medical tourism abroad whenever they are faced with serious conditions. Keep in mind that medical tourism is a luxury only the rich can afford.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, travelling for medical care was restricted in the developed world and people had to contend with the poor healthcare system their countries could offer. In sub-Saharan Africa, the failing medical infrastructure increased the infection and death rates due to Covid. Infected people had no access to ventilators.
In Nigeria, for example, the federal capital territory had only three ventilators. As the virus spread across Abuja, one of the ventilators was moved to the presidential villa, and one was only accessible by the rich and influential. The government hospital had to work with only one ventilator despite the growing infection rate.
The United Nations believes that developing countries will not survive another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Their lack of healthcare technological advancement and lagging economic development hampered their response during the first wave of the virus and will only make things worse if there is another wave. Residents of these countries can help themselves by searching for new jobs and skill-building opportunities on Career Karma.