Indicative Socio-Economic Impacts of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Outbreak in Eastern Africa: Case of Rwanda

Apr 28, 2020; SSRM-Preprint .


The COVID-19 pandemic has already affected the world both in terms of people’s lives and the global and national economies. The impacts are different as countries, and their respective policy responses are varied. There is so far a mixture of anticipated effects on African economies with little specific cases to demonstrate how each country is responding to the short and mid-term effects of the virus. This paper is among the fewer emerging case studies for Africa and addresses the case of Rwanda. It documents the on-going policy response measures and the anticipated short to medium socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 with a focus on external merchandise trade, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and agriculture. Our results indicate that despite promising stepwise policy measures taken by the government of Rwanda and how the population is positively responding to these measures, these sub-sectors will be negatively affected by the COVID-19 though at different levels. The external merchandise trade and SMEs are expected to be more affected than the agriculture sector . The policy response will need more innovative actions beyond monetary and fiscal measures addressing immediate effects such as liquidity constraints but seed for resilience of long-term effects of the pandemic as well as the recovery of the entire economy in Rwanda.

Keywords: COVID-19, Socioeconomic impact, Rwanda.

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