Africa – The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to all corners of the world impacting all sectors of the economy. In Africa, the virus has spread to 52 countries with over 33,085 cumulative cases. Lockdowns, full or partial workplace closures and other restrictive measures that have been instituted to slow down the spread of the disease continue to have a catastrophic effect on people’s working hours, income and livelihoods. According to the International Labour Organization, as many as 195 million full time jobs might be lost globally as a direct result of COVID-19, proving to be far worse than the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
In reaction to this, Landry Ninteretse, the 350.org Africa Managing Director said:
“1st May is international workers day and as an organization that works closely with trade and workers’ unions, we stand in solidarity with workers from all sectors across Africa, especially those that have lost work and income and face months of uncertainty, struggling to buy food and pay rent, and those who are paying a high price to save lives.
As an organization we are calling for a just recovery to the twin global threats of COVID-19 and the climate crisis. At the beginning of the global outbreak, 350.org, together with a large group of allied organisations, put together five principles for a just recovery that any economic relief should follow. These principles are: Putting people’s health first, providing economic relief directly to the people, helping workers and communities and not corporate executives, creating resilience for future crises and building solidarity and community across borders.
A number of countries across Africa have come up with a number of measures ranging from stimulus packages to economic and social response plans aimed at jump-starting businesses. It is our plea that these plans should target the poorest and most vulnerable people, not forgetting workers in the informal sector, many of whom live from hand to mouth.
However, even as we tackle COVID-19 we should not forget the environment. The climate crisis is still here with us and requires us to think of social and economic solutions centred on the principles of justice, sustainability, care and community empowerment. The Global Green New Deal is one of them, and it could get the world running on 100-percent renewable energy, creating 28.6 million jobs globally — and that’s just in the energy sector, providing much needed jobs for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Principles for a Just Recovery from COVID-19