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Business Owners in Sub-Saharan Africa Lose Livelihoods, Despite Tighter COVID-19 Containment

Source: World Bank

Revenue declined for more than 70% of the households that rely on non-farm family businesses in Gabon, South Sudan, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Mali and Madagascar, according to surveys conducted in May and June 2020. Kenya experienced the highest job loss rate at 62%, according to the World Bank. In general, COVID-related job losses in sub-Saharan Africa were higher in urban areas and among female workers.

Although COVID-19 cases were not as high in Africa as in other regions of the world, the pandemic has taken a major economic toll on countries in sub-Saharan Africa. These countries experienced a devastation in livelihoods, food security and human capital due to the loss of global demand and local efforts to contain the disease. Food insecurity tripled in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda and Malawi compared to 2019. 

Countries that were hit the hardest economically had significant domestic outbreaks, numerous oil exporters and were dependent on the travel and tourism industry. Economic activity is predicted to rise by 2.7% in 2021 — predominantly driven by export growth — but this could be jeopardized by limited vaccine distribution.

Top 5 Things the Most Innovative Companies Prioritize in HR

Talent attraction and retention are top priorities for both business and HR executives in 2022, as two-thirds of leaders say they’re facing a labor shortage crisis, according to Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends Study. Reward strategies are a stronger focus for HR than previous years, with three out of the top five priorities focusing on addressing pay and equity gaps, improving total reward packages and improving workforce planning.

Attracting and engaging workers still poses a challenge—despite 88% of employees feeling satisfied in their current role, two in five plan to leave their job this year. Employees want companies to reflect their values and provide fair pay, job security, mental health strategies, and diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.

The global survey also found that all employees, regardless of geography, thrive at work when they feel valued for their contributions and find the work fulfilling. Exceptions were employees in the Middle East, who most value a sense of belonging, and employees in Asia, who thrive when they’re having fun at work.

1 in 5 People Will Live in Sub-Saharan Africa By 2030


The world’s population will grow to an estimated 10.9 billion by the end of the 21st century, with 8 out of 10 people projected to live in Asia or Africa, estimates Our World in Data. Five of the most populous countries are expected to be in Africa: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt.

But the growth rate of the African population, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, is projected to accelerate more quickly than other regions. Due to factors like declining infant mortality rate and increased life expectancy, the population is forecast to triple from 1.3 billion to 4.3 billion by 2100. And by 2030, one in five people will live in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Bank estimates that this will continue to concentrate poverty in the region. By 2030, nine in 10 people living in extreme poverty are expected to be in sub-Saharan Africa.

Over the past 50 years, Asia experienced the most rapid population growth, with 4.6 billion people living in the region — most of them in China (1.4 billion) or India (1.3 billion). Analysts expect that growth to top 5 billion people by 2050. North, South, and Central America, and Oceania are forecast to have more modest growth than Africa, while Europe’s population is expected to fall.

China Received the Most Investment in Tourism in 2020

China was the leading recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in tourism from 2019-2020, despite the start of the pandemic, an analysis from Investment Monitor shows.

In 2020, China became the top global (FDI) destination overall — overtaking the U.S. for the first time in decades — in part due to strict lockdowns enabling its economic recovery in the first year of COVID-19. China was also the leading destination for construction projects, which helped attract foreign investors including Starbucks, Tesla and Walt Disney.

Most of China’s investments came from the U.S. (64 projects), including U.S.-based hotel companies like Wyndham and Hilton, which opened new hotels in 2020. Singapore was the second-largest investor with 24 projects. The U.S. is the leading source of outbound tourism FDI overall and invested in more operations in the Asia-Pacific than any other region.

The pandemic greatly impacted tourism FDI, which declined by 17.4% between 2019 and 2020. But overall, global FDI flows bounced back in 2021 with an 88% surge, rising above pre-pandemic levels. Tourism FDI is also projected to have grown last year, given the availability of vaccines and lifting of lockdowns and travel bans, though Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have impacted its growth.

Global Housing Shortages Push Prices Higher

Source: World Economic Forum

Housing prices are climbing worldwide as construction lags and inflation rises, reports the World Economic Forum. Global prices increased at their fastest pace in 40 years during the pandemic and by nearly 70% in the past two decades. 

Low interest rates, government support and remote work all contributed to the housing boom during the pandemic, according to the International Monetary Fund. Supply chain disruptions during the pandemic also raised the costs of construction.

The cost of housing has outpaced wages in most countries, leaving many families without the means to afford a home. Experts estimate that affordability for first-time buyers will worsen over the next two years. This has also caused upward pressure on rents: Renters are spending an increased percentage of their household income on housing, creating a growing affordability gap between renters and homeowners.

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