UNDP COVID-19 Social and Economic Impact Assessment Report: Women and youth at higher risk of long-term unemployment as pandemic exacerbates inequalities

October 1, 2020

DUSHANBE, 01 October, 2020 – As COVID-19 hits global economies, social and economic disparity grows in Tajikistan, putting women and youth at higher risk of long-term unemployment, UNDP finds in a comprehensive study of the pandemic impact on social and economic situation in Tajikistan, which was conducted in close collaboration with the Government and inputs from development partners.

To help the country with an evidence-based targeted recovery response it is crucial to understand the immediate, medium and longer-term impact of COVID19 across all regions in the country on lives and livelihoods of people of Tajikistan as well as on business and the informal sector” UNDP Resident Representative in Tajikistan Dr. Pratibha Mehta says.

The key findings and recommendations highlighted in the “Impact of COVID-19 on Lives, Livelihoods and Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Tajikistan” report, released today, are based on the analysis of primary and secondary data, supported by the survey of 1000 households and 700 MSMEs about the challenges caused by the pandemic.

The findings confirm that the domestic employment is dominated by men, while women and youth face an increased risk of long-term unemployment as one of the numerous COVID-19 effects. Women and young people’s mobility, education, and skills are also affected more strongly, further exacerbating their vulnerability.

The population at large is further affected both socially and economically as remittances, which remain as main source of income, continue to fall. Lack of savings, presence of loans, and having a family member with chronic illness increases the likelihood of the vulnerable population to become further indebted to survive. Household incomes from self-employment, migrant labor and non-registered jobs have had the largest declines as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

63.1% of MSMEs have reported to have been already negatively affected by the pandemic, with those in rural areas being least advantaged to access business advisory services and markets. 85% of the respondents reported decline in sales of products and services, while 25% had to temporarily shut down as a result of the pandemic. Employees’ wage drop is highest in smaller firms, hitting younger and informal employees most. The number of women in informal employment is disproportionately high, which puts women and youth at a higher risk of reduced income. 

A number of short- and long-term recommendations have been developed based on these finding to address the challenges posed by the pandemic. The recommended changes range from emergency financial support and ensuring food security to policy-level changes, such as reducing fiscal tax burden for legal commercial entities and self-employed people to provide incentives for formal employment and increasing competitiveness.

“This Report is an attempt to trigger a wider debate about inclusive, equitable and sustainable development in the context of pandemic and post-COVID impact but also to contribute to evidence-based new programming and policies,” Dr. Mehta says.

Full range of findings and recommendations are published in the “Impact of COVID-19 on Lives, Livelihoods and Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Tajikistan” report accessible on UNDP website for Tajikistan.

For additional information, please contact:

Rukhshona Nazhmidinova, UNDP Communications Analyst in Tajikistan, e-mail: rukhshona.nazhmidinova@undp.org

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