Policy brief

COVID-19 - Tackling the jobs crisis in the Least Developed Countries

This policy brief provides an overview of the evolution of the COVID-19-induced health and labour market crises in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). While highlighting how the outbreak is affecting jobs and incomes, and looking at policy responses so far, it also provides suggestions for national employment and economic policies, as well as international support, to help LDCs on their path to a job-rich recovery and future resilience.

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) experienced contagion later and less severely than more advanced countries, but are at risk of suffering the most severe economic and social damages. In addition to a critical health situation, plummeting exports and drops in tourism and remittances, coupled with even a few weeks of lockdown, are profoundly affecting labour markets in LDCs, not least because most people work informally, have little cash reserves, no paid sick leave, no access to teleworking and nothing to fall back on. Countries responded quickly, closing their borders and introducing various containment measures, but are constrained by their limited fiscal space. This policy brief provides a concise overview of the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis in the LDCs and its impact on jobs and incomes. It also discusses key policy challenges. International support will be critical to help LDCs foster a job-rich recovery and build future resilience. At the same time, there is much LDCs’ governments, employers and workers can do to protecting those hit hardest while promoting decent employment and productive transformation.