Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 450,000 SMEs were closing shop in Kenya annually, translating to 30,000 monthly, and 1,000 daily.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to massive job losses in Kenya. Stats from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicated that at least 2,000,000 Kenyans lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The numbers are, however, higher than the ones indicated.
In its report, the World Bank equally quoted a similar number of at least 2,000,000 Kenyans who were driven into extreme poverty as a result of Covid-19. The truth is, the numbers of then slipped into poverty are also higher than those quoted.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit almost every sector in Kenya. So many businesses shut down. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 450,000 SMEs were closing shop in Kenya annually, translating to 30,000 monthly, and 1,000 daily. With the pandemic in place, the number must have doubled.
The SME sector in Kenya employs about 86 percent of the population and contributes about 45.6 percent to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP). The fact that it is the sector that was the worst hit, means so many people were left without a source of income and livelihood.
The hospitality sector was completely mutilated by the pandemic. The government announced the secession of movement by road, air, and water in and out of the country. This cut the number of visitors arriving in Kenya by at least 86 percent.
With no visitors coming in from other countries, hotels started shutting down. Some shut down completely, letting go of all their workforce. Some reduced the number of their employees and for some; employees had to work without pay. Some have never recovered.
The government also put in place dusk to dawn curfew. At first, the curfew was running from 9 pm to 5 am before it was reversed. The curfew affected the operating hours of bars, clubs, and restaurants. This led to the reduction of revenue, hence job losses.
As schools shut down, people only focused on public schools. Nobody talked about private schools that depended on school fees to survive and the many people that relied on them for livelihood. So many teachers, cooks, drivers, and other staff were rendered jobless all of a sudden.
Currently, more than 300 private schools are shut down permanently. More than 56,000 learners had to look for alternative schools. People who lost jobs as a result of shutting down schools were beyond measure.
The aviation sector was also affected. The number of people flying in and out of the country reduced. Kenya Airways, for instance, had to convert some planes into cargo planes and sent so many of the employees home. As the second wave sets in, jobs are still at risk.