At the end of March, BFA conducted a rapid assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the livelihoods of people in seven countries- Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, India, UK, US.
The survey found that low-income and lower-middle-income families are experiencing a decrease in income, with a significant decrease recorded for Kenya, Mexico, and South Africa. These families, BFA found, are also the most hard hit by social and physical distancing measures.
The survey also found that households are drawing from savings to cope with their immediate expenses yet these same reserves are fragile. These reserves will last between four to eight weeks without income. For example, Mexicans are the most vulnerable and have reserves to last only four weeks but the British have almost eight weeks of funds on hand.
BFA recommends some measures that funders and governments can take to help people cope. These include the provision of digital money and food vouchers and individual government transfers to youth and women.
BFA also advises banks and financial institutions to continue supporting their customers now and through the recovery period and also calls on government to provide the right monetary and fiscal policies that most directly impact low-income workers and businesses.