EDITORIAL: Coronavirus will go; lessons will remain with us

Sunday December 06 2020

A well-wisher delivers food aid to a vulnerable household. The government has to continue supporting the most vulnerable to ensure that their basic needs are met. PHOTO | FILE


We all have endured a truly difficult year. From breadwinners losing sources of income to losing loved ones, it has been a tale of woe that has eft many exposed and vulnerable.

The government has to continue supporting the most vulnerable to ensure that their basic needs are met. But perhaps more importantly, the government must step up efforts to stimulate the economy and revive job creation. So far, it appears the economy is generally on the mend.

According to the August Q3 labour force survey released by the institute of statistics, the proportion of the working age population who were in the labour force increased to 58.2 percent in August from 55.1percent in May and 52.3 in August 2019.

The unemployment rate decreased by 6.1 percentage points from 22.1 percent in May to 16.0 percent in August; which is the same unemployment rate as August 2019.

This is largely linked to the business in manufacturing of personal protection gear and construction.
As the year comes to an end, the government needs to carry out a deeper analysis of the dynamics of jobs to understand how the sectors fared.

A strategy should be devised to support those who lost jobs and reintegrate them into the job market so that they take care of their families.


By all counts, 2020 has been unprecedented. Just like it happened with other countries, Rwanda's economy took a hit, falling by 12 percent after the country's key sectors were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The March-May period was the hardest, as the country went into total lockdown, , leading to mass job losses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, as well as informal workers. However, what happened after the country opened up is worth noting.

The government and the private sector players responded impressively, to mount a comprehensive recovery campaign that has largely paid off.

After the lockdowns were eased, the most urgent need was to locally manufacture all the Covid-19 preventive goods like face masks, hand sanitisers and liquid soaps that in the end created jobs for many.

A company like Gahaya Links got a lifeline from producing face masks, and was able to employ up to 1,624 previously vulnerable women, each earning up to Rwf120, 000 per month.

The boom in construction recorded from May also came in handy, availing thousands of jobs.
The pragmatic spirit with which all productive sectors of the economy, and government worked to respond to the Covid -19 pandemic contributes valuable lessons for the country to deal with economic challenges.

Even before Covid-19, the country had a jobless population, especially the youth, but the level of commitment that came with efforts to mend the economy this year was different.

The Covid-19 pandemic will pass but the approaches deployed to deal with its challenges, the adjustments, sacrifices and innovations should remain with us.