Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

Aid & international development

How feasible is working from home in developing countries?

People’s economic experience of Covid-19 depends partly on whether it is possible for them to work from home. Fewer jobs can be done at home in poorer countries, which means that workers are at risk of either losing their jobs or becoming exposed to the virus while at work.

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How is coronavirus affecting food security in sub-Saharan Africa?

Since the start of the pandemic, more people in sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to access a safe and stable supply of food. Low incomes and high food prices have reduced the ability of an average household to enjoy a nutritious diet.

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How might costly sovereign debt default in emerging economies be averted?

Many low- and middle-income countries face problems servicing their external debts while tackling the global health emergency and the ensuing economic damage. To ensure debt sustainability, the existing stock of debt needs to be restructured, potentially involving substantial debt write-downs.

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How are firms in emerging markets reacting to the coronavirus crisis?

Firms in emerging markets have suffered at least as much from Covid-19 as those in advanced economies. Evidence suggests that they have cut investment rather than laying-off staff. They have also been flexible with suppliers and business partners, and tried to support their communities.

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How does lockdown affect firms in developing countries?

Lockdown led to a severe demand shock for firms, especially in the hospitality, transport and retail sectors. Analysis of administrative tax data suggests that half of formal firms may become unprofitable, exit rates double and tax revenues from firms fall by over 1.5% of GDP.

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How will coronavirus change the global microfinance industry?

Unlike previous crises that the microfinance industry weathered successfully, Covid-19 has created significant challenges for both the demand side – low-income borrowers struggling to repay their microloans – and the supply side – providers facing their own funding pressures.

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How do lockdowns affect economic activity in developing countries?

The severity of lockdown measures has been similar across the world. But differences between developing and advanced economies in their sectoral composition and the size of the informal economy mitigate the economic damage in poorer countries.

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How is coronavirus affecting emerging markets and developing economies?

The output losses in low- and middle-income countries triggered by the Covid-19 crisis are likely to leave long-lasting scars, reducing potential growth. The UK is not insulated from the economic fallout due to trade links and financial exposure.

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How is coronavirus affecting the provision of free school meals?

The pandemic has required school closures across many countries, disrupting the provision of meals for pupils. What are the risks for children – and their families – who lose access to these programmes? And what could policy-makers do to mitigate the risks?

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What are the likely effects of the crisis on charitable donations?

The lockdown, the recession and increased uncertainty are all likely to affect people’s incomes and what they do with their money. That includes decisions about what they donate to charities – how much to give, which causes to give to, when to give and how to give.

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Funded by

UKRI Economic and Social Research Council
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