In light of the COVID—19 pandemic, the Nigeria chapter of New Faces New Voices (NFNV)— a Pan-African advocacy group focused on expanding the role and influence of African women in the financial sector — has called on African leaders to develop and implement sustainable economic strategies towards mitigating the negative impacts of the pandemic on businesses in Africa including women cross-border traders.
In a statement signed by the country director of NFNV Nigeria, Aishatu Debola Aminu, the group observe that COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, could have negative consequences on the economy by disrupting millions of livelihoods including women-owned small and informal businesses. “There is an urgent need for more creative steps to secure supply chains of essential products, contain the health crisis, maintain the stability of financial systems, help businesses survive the crisis, and support households’ economic welfare,” says the statement.
In addition, NFNV Nigeria noted that African leaders must be focused on addressing these major economic challenges in the coming months including the economic impact of the spread of the virus across Africa, by evolving an extensive stimulus package to reverse the economic damage of the crisis adding that travel bans and lockdowns were not only limiting the movement of people across borders and within countries, but also disrupting the functions of many individuals and businesses.
“The implications of these challenges are far-reaching. Many businesses, particularly MSMEs, face potential closure and bankruptcy and are under significant cost pressure. This may lead to widespread job losses. In addition, productivity across many sectors will be impacted by the pandemic. In most countries, schools and universities are closed, this could create longer-term human capital issues for African economies — and could affect girls, many of whom may not return to school,” noted the statement.
NFNV Nigeria said since women business owners were more likely to be hit hardest by the economic fallout of COVID-19, governments and policymakers must ensure that palliative measures were also geared towards supporting women and women-owned businesses.
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