Impacts of COVID-19 in Africa
Consequences for the transport & mobility sector
The New Africa – the emerging continent
With 54 countries and a population of approximately 1.3 billion, Africa is larger than North America or Europe. By 2025 the population is expected to grow to 2.5 billion people, which will increase the demand for employment opportunities on the continent. In connection with current long-term investments in infrastructure projects and the mobility sector, it seems very likely the growing workforce will find job opportunities in those sectors, providing a very promising outlook. At the same time, Africa is a relatively young continent, with a motivated and flexible workforce. Most certainly with a rising digital economy and very high growth rates within services industry, such as e-mobility.
However, over 20 million new jobs are required annually to ensure Africa's youth with a prosperous future, both economically and socially. Education and training will be one of the most important measures to strengthen the quality of skills and to meet the demand of an expanding job market. In return, the positive impact of training and education on the active workforce, and a growing number of apprenticeships will also support the growth of the economy. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this process, making job security through education and training even more imperative.
The Objective and the Results
The study “Impacts of COVID-19” aimed at providing reliable information on training and re-training needs of companies in 12 selected African countries: Côte d‘Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia. The results of the study will be used to identify the training topics and the capacity building measures in order to increase job opportunities within the automotive and mobility sectors. Additionally, these measures aim at mitigating the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the personal wellbeing of its people.
Additionally, it has been acknowledged that the national economies of the African countries subjected to the study, suffered tremendously as a result from the pandemic. Almost all companies experienced a decline in business activities, resulting in plummeting sales and a subsequent lower productivity. Multinational-corporations and large enterprises were able to deal with those challenges more easily compared to small companies. The global recession has also led to more closures of business, closing of production facilities and assembly lines and subsequently to a steep decline in transport volumes, which in turn caused extreme variations in prices and diminishing margins. However, the biggest impact of COVID-19 does not originate within the transportation and production sectors, but in the working environment and the wellbeing of the workforce. Examples include new and comprehensive hygienic rules and processes, the requirement to work remotely, and the general adjustment of the workforce and the management. African countries are heavily affected (e.g. South Africa). Only few economies could manage to maintain a certain stability, even if this is on a small the scale (e.g. Ethiopia). It can be assumed that with an ongoing pandemic, and the respective restrictions in the social and business life, the situation in Africa will deteriorate drastically, and therefore the already tight job-market in Africa will suffer even more. Especially, if companies must adopt to more drastic measures to cope with the crisis. Short-term qualification measures can contribute to the fact that the local enterprises are rather willing to retain their personnel longer with the expectation to emerge from this pandemic more strengthened. On the long-term, such measures can assist African countries to raise the level of qualification in general, to increase productivity, re-start production, and to delivery efficiently once the pandemic has ceased to be.
The study has been financed and implemented by GIZ's (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) under the umbrella of „Invest for Jobs”. Based on the guiding principle of "Invest for Jobs," the BMZ (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung) aims to create new jobs with the Special Initiative on Training and Employment in selected African partner countries to improve economic conditions along selected locations and economic sectors (clusters) and to promote sustainable investments by the German, European and African business communities that will lead to more and better employment.