June 21, 2021

Lessons and early evidence of COVID-19 resilience and recovery

Practical experiences in COVID-19 market systems responses

June’s double issue of the Enterprise Development and Microfinance Journal is devoted to economic impacts and solutions resulting from COVID-19. 

The pandemic has exposed the gaping inequities in market systems the world over while it has exacerbated those inequities without mercy. As always, it is the most marginalised that carry the burden of suffering – vulnerable women, extreme poor households, informal workers, communities with minority status, people with disability, youth living on the edge. 

It can be overwhelming – but COVID-19 has challenged us to work harder for economic and social justice. We have our approaches, our tools, our expertise, and we are equipped to be part of the solution.

Eight papers examine various aspects of inclusive market systems functioning in the face of COVID-19, along with two on financial literacy. While the latter do not make specific reference to COVID, access to and management of finance can be a key factor in economic resilience and advancement as noted by many of this issue’s authors.

  • Impact of COVID-19 on livestock exports from Somalia and the Horn of Africa - resilient local market systems in the Horn of Africa made up for a potential 80 per cent loss in pastoralists’ income when exports to the Middle East were cancelled due the shut-down of the annual Hajj pilgrimage (Banerjee et al). 
  • COVID-19 shut-down as a lens to understand economic resilience of low-income households in Bangladesh - research found that employment and enterprise programmes can promote resilience through increases in net savings, reduction in loan exposure, and promotion of food reserves to withstand temporary loss of income (Sarwar). 
  • Field perspectives on the economic impacts of COVID-19 on women with disabilities in Bangladesh and Nepal - the economic impact of COVID-19 on women with disabilities in South Asia led to local civil society organisations playing a critical role in documenting impacts and advancing solutions for women with disabilities (Bernasky, Misti, and Dahal). 
  • Women’s economic empowerment and COVID-19: the case of women with intersectional identities in Indonesia and Vietnam - programming in Indonesia and Vietnam that focuses on homeworkers, labour migrants and ethnic minorities was rapidly adapted with the support of a network of local partners and online platforms and digital technologies (Ebrahim, Jack and Jones).
  • Turning COVID-19 crisis into entrepreneurial success: an exploratory study on women innovators of Pakistan - the success of a select group of low-income women micro-entrepreneurs in Pakistan resulted from a combination of micro-loans and access to digital marketplaces allowing them to grow their businesses and support their families (Khursheed, Mustafa and Khan). 
  • COVID-19 impact study: assessing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic output in developing countries - a new ‘input-output’ model measures the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic output in developing countries by country and sector, thereby contributing critical information for management and policy decisions (Debernardini, van den Berg, and Lelijveld).
  • Disruptions and the protracted effects of the lockdown in the non-bank financial institution sector in Ghana - the combined disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the ensuing lock-down highlighted the need to upgrade various aspect of NBFI regulation and expand the use of digital and remote banking to reach clients (Peprah).
  • The Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Indonesia: the identification of mitigation and adaptation measure in response to the effect of the pandemic on microfinance institutions led to conclusions around the need for increased digital capacity and strengthened regulation and supervision (Ermawati et al).
  • Training vs. informal financial services for the promotion of financial literacy and inclusion in Uganda - despite financial education, participation in informal financial practices remains high, relative to formal ones, and informal financial services demonstrate a complementary role to financial formalisation (Agabalinda and Steel). 
  • Potential for indigenous communication systems to improve financial literacy: evidence from Nigeria - low levels of education and lack of electricity hinder dissemination of financial literacy information in rural Nigeria, suggesting that financial authorities should encourage indigenous language use and town-criers for improved dissemination (Ogbemudia et al).

To read these articles and earlier issues, please visit the Enterprise Development & Microfinance (EDM) Journal website

Since 1990, the EDM Journal has offered practice-based insights into the role of markets, enterprises and financial services in reducing poverty and stimulating economic development. This peer-reviewed journal, at the interface between research and practice, publishes papers written by researchers for the benefit of practice and those written by practitioners to inform research and policy. EDM is produced by Practical Action Publishing 

Linda Jones has recently returned as Editor of the journal (previously Editor from 2010-13). Known as a field builder, Linda has made numerous industry contributions, particularly around inclusive development, as a senior manager and consultant as well as to membership organisations, teaching institutes, and learning and publications.

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