Kenya lost 2.5 million working hours in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to projections by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The bank’s newly released annual Africa Economic Outlook further shows that the country lost 1.7 million hours worked in 2021, a slight improvement on the previous year.
But Kenya still fared better than Nigeria, Egypt and Ethiopia, which lost more working hours at the height of the pandemic.
Nigeria lost 5.7 million hours worked, followed by Ethiopia (3.3 million), Egypt (2.9 million) and South Africa (2.5 million).
Countries saw improvements in absenteeism in 2021 due to the lifting of Covid restrictions, which led to a recovery in economic activity.
Overall, Africa’s share of global absenteeism rose to 16 per cent in 2021, with these disparities partly due to wide disparities in access to vaccination.
The general working time is usually 52 hours per week, which can consist of eight hours Monday to Friday and five hours on Saturday.
Restrictions on movement, lockdowns and night curfews imposed in March 2020 resulted in people working remotely, disrupting all sectors of the economy, resulting in reduced revenues and stunted growth.
The service sector, and hospitality in particular, was hit the hardest, leading to job losses with lower revenues and even the collapse of businesses.
“The pandemic is still disrupting labor markets in Africa and employment has yet to fully recover,” the AfDB report said.
The movement restrictions imposed in 2020 saw the suspension of international and domestic flights and a ban on the social stop in the tourism sector.
Five-star hotels such as the Radisson Blu and Norfolk Hotel have recently reopened after months of being closed due to low bookings for rooms and conference facilities.
Kenya’s economy rebounded in 2021, growing at its fastest pace in 11 years as the easing of Covid-19 restrictions fueled the recovery in key sectors.
Official data shows activity has increased by 7.5 percent, compared with a 0.3 percent drop a year earlier due to Covid restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, which was first detected in the country in March 2020 .
This economic recovery was mainly supported by improved performance in manufacturing, trade, transportation, real estate and financial services.
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, above pre-pandemic levels.
New data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that GDP has increased from 2.7 percent last year and 4.4 percent in 2020 on the back of recovery in the transport, food and services sectors.
The AfDB found that the Covid pandemic affected a higher proportion of businesses in the service sector – retail, hotels, restaurants – than in manufacturing.