Solidarity and support for ALL families on International Day of Families
The world must extend relief to the families of sub-Saharan Africa as they battle the COVID-19 economic crisis
Across Sub-Saharan Africa, like everywhere in the world, children are at the heart of our families.
Today, we celebrate International Day of Families, and it’s the ingenuity, creativity, and sheer determination of families across the region that we especially want to recognize.
However, we cannot do so without addressing the glaring inequities that impact sub-Saharan African families at every level – from the digital divide and income disparity, to the lack of social services or even a basic safety-net that has become so crucial in the time of COVID.
In the last 18 months, we’ve seen the biggest decline in economic indicators ever recorded across Sub-Saharan Africa and the loss of tens of millions of jobs – making it harder than ever for families to provide for themselves.
The pandemic has compounded the pre-existing challenges that African families were already facing. In the Sahel region, temperatures are rising faster than in any other place on the planet.
Climate change, in addition to reoccurring conflicts, created crisis levels of food insecurity for nearly 100 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.
What is needed now from wealthier nations is more support and transformative innovations for the rapid expansion of social protection. We must ensure we navigate this storm to save lives and avoid further loss of hard-earned development gains.
Given that 25 per cent of the world’s people will live in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2050, this is in all our interests.
Like all parents, African parents urgently want their children to return to school as, for most, that is their only option for learning.
Supporting parents with cash transfers, similar to what has been given in most developed nations to weather COVID, will be key to enabling children to return to their education, and families to recover.
Social protection for families is the quickest and most effective way to help people help themselves.
Many recipients, like Julia Tetteh, a Ghanaian mother who received LEAP (Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty) payments, use the money to grow small informal businesses helping both their families and the economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a once in a generation crisis, one which calls for global efforts to increase coverage of social protection for all African families.
While wealthier nations have not been spared the devastation of the pandemic, they have been better equipped to protect the most vulnerable through a combination of expanded social protection and stimulus for ailing economies.