COPING

Be better prepared to weather shocks

Learn to manage finances; have a workable budget and live within our means.

In Summary
  • We should develop and fasten the policy, “To pay ourselves first for every amount of income we get.”
  • At institutional levels, the authorities should learn to manage public resources with integrity, transparency and accountability. 

Food and Agriculture Organization reports that world hunger, measured by the Prevalence of Undernourishment and Food Insecurity Experience Scale, has slowly been on the rise since 2015, currently affecting more than 820 million people globally. This is one in every nine people.

Africa has the highest prevalence of undernutrition, affecting more than 20 per cent of her population. It is worst in Eastern Africa with a prevalence of 30.8 per cent and Middle Africa at 26.5 per cent.

One of the causes of undernourishment is poverty. The World Bank Group in 2019 reported that despite the fact that extreme poverty, defined by living on less than $1.90 per day, has been on the decline since the 1990s, sub-Saharan Africa still remains highly affected.

The number of extremely poor people has increased by nine million, accounting for more than half of all the extremely poor people globally. Should the trend continue, then almost nine out of 10 ie 90 per cent of extremely poor people globally will be in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Covid-19 pandemic is highly likely to worsen the situation in Africa. According to the World Bank Press Release on

April 9, 2020, Covid-19 is likely to cause a decline in sub-Saharan Africa growth from 2.4 per cent in 2019 to -2.1 to -5.1per cent in 2020. Besides, it is estimated that dealing with Covid-19 will cost sub-Saharan Africa between $37 billion and $79 billion. Are we ready to handle this?

It therefore calls for preparation and appropriate action; both at individual and institutional levels. This will involve working hand in hand in curbing the spread of Covid-19, flattening the curve and minimising the duration of the pandemic. We need to stay vigilant, taking care of ourselves and others. And most importantly, it is a call for the authorities to improve our fragile health systems, show integrity, transparency and accountability.

At individual level, people should learn to manage their personal finances well. We should have a workable budget and live within our means. We should learn to save, and invest in liquid assets, especially during this pandemic.

We should develop and fasten the policy, “To pay ourselves first for every amount of income we get.” Besides, we should also build a basket of emergency funds that is able to last us at least three months should we lose our jobs.

At institutional levels, the authorities should learn to manage public resources with integrity, transparency and accountability. It has been reported that we lose billions of shillings to corruption. Should we be able to deal with this, then we are likely to have more resources, and be able to maintain our economy.

The government has taken an initiative of relieving various taxes during this pandemic, which is commendable. It, therefore, should develop policies and guidelines that will be able to protect the welfare of the common citizens during the economic recovery phase from this pandemic, and also strictly control the cost of the basic needs of the citizens from unscrupulous inflations.

In so doing, it will be able to buffer the adverse anticipated economic impacts of this pandemic, hence protect people from the worsening poverty and food insecurity.