Reaching out to partners in the time of COVID-19: Social Protection

Baby held by his mother peeks at the camera by looking over her shoulder
UNICEF Mauritania/UNI337297/Alvarez


The global COVID-19 crisis is rapidly affecting communities in West and Central Africa (WCA), with potentially severe and long-lasting socio-economic impacts. Growth projections in 2020 for the region (both World Bank and IMF forecasts) have been revised significantly downward. This will affect informal economy workers, who are among the most vulnerable but comprise a large share of the labour force in Africa. This comes on top of existing vulnerabilities, poverty, climate change and security concerns in the region. Together, these challenges come with a high risk of reversing gains made in poverty reduction and child well-being in recent decades. UNICEF estimates that, in Sub-Saharan Africa, between 16 and 21 million children are now at risk of falling below the poverty line as a result of this crisis. Social protection is a proven instrument to reduce household poverty and multidimensional child poverty.

Parents smiling as they hold their newborn baby

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