The Femine Early Warning Systems Network (FewsNet) says access to food and incomes for low-income urban populations is likely to improve following a decline in Covid-19 cases in the country.
In its September 2020 Situation Report, the USaid-funded activity, said a decrease in the number of new reported Covid-19 cases in August and September led to the easing of some restrictions and the phased reopening of businesses and institutions.
Reads the report in part: “As a result, impacts of Covid-19 on income-earning, particularly in urban areas, are expected to ease in the October to December 2020 period as the national economy begins to recover.
“This will likely improve access to food and income for low-income urban populations who are facing a crisis due to Covid-19- related disruptions in employment and business opportunities, with improvement to outcomes expected by December 2020.”
Last month, FewsNet figures showed that the majority of the households surveyed in August relied primarily on salary (35 percent), small businesses (17 percent), own businesses (10 percent), and skilled trades (eight percent).
Of the 44 percent of households who reported relying on a second source of income, most relied additionally on small businesses (14 percent), petty trade (19 percent), salary (eight percent) and own businesses (eight percent).
However, households in lower wealth quintiles and more dependent on small business and petty trade were disproportionately impacted by reductions in income-earning, with 73 percent of those dependent on these activities (as a first or second source of income) reporting reduced income during the review period.
Consumer rights activist John Kapito, who is also executive director of Consumers Association of Malawi, observed in an interview that while there have been some improvements following the reduced cases, recovery will demand a lot of energy and investments.
“This is not an overnight recovery because we might have scaled down the pandemic, but in our borders, there are still some restriction,” he said. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a joint June 2020 assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on employment in Malawi by Employers Consultative Association of Malawi and the International Labour Organisation also showed that a typical worker in the informal sector will see their earnings going down to below K22 396 ($30.37).