By Maurice Gathu Munga
A pandemic brings about both negative and positive impacts. Kenya is one of the developing countries that heavily depend on agriculture whilst commercial trading being a major contributor to its economy. Evidently, a number of sectors in Kenya are very essential to delivering services and products to the people. These sectors include education, trade, agriculture, health, tourism, and transport.
Education is a major sector of the economy, coronavirus has affected the quality of education in a negative way. Many of the schools have closed, school children were sent at home and with most staying idle at home. Although a majority of schools transformed into digital learning, major challenges like the affordability of data cost, poor network connectivity and related poverty issues have affected access to quality education to most young people in Kenya.
Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy, farmers and agribusiness enterprises have cited a drop in sales and operations due to the slow economic activities attributed by the coronavirus in the country. There has also been a number of underlying factors that are affecting the sector like climate change, poor regulatory frameworks and epidemics and infections i.e. armyworm infestation, foot and mouth diseases to animals, locusts infestations and airborne diseases to both crops and animals.
Our health is one of the most vital systems in attaining a healthy environment and the welfare of the people in Kenya. Over the last seven months, a health crisis has been noted and thus hindering access to sexual and health rights, health services and other related services. However, the main challenges in the pandemic are the capacity to handle patients affected by the virus, the number of protective gears for the health workers and the safety of the health workers and the public.
Kenya trading industry has had a good opportunity to advance into the digital spaces especially e-commerce services and digital marketing services. An increase in the number of digital shops and trading services has been on an upward projection. A lot of companies, small businesses and micro businesses embracing digital payments and digital marketing to attract consumers and improve their sales during this harsh economic conditions. Despite the good opportunities presented by the digital spaces, the majority of the small and medium enterprises have been affected. Bars, hotels, entertainment joints and recreational businesses have faced regulatory orders hindering their sales and resulting in laying off many workers and employees in the industry.
The mobility sector which is heavily dependent on our day to day activities has also faced a harsh condition especially the public transport. The transport sector employs a majority of the young people in Kenya and has been a lucrative business over the past years. Traffic rules and public health orders have caused a decrease in sales in the public sector, remote working is a contributor of low incomes from the transport sector, high fuel prices and among other factors has greatly affected the transport sector in Kenya.
Generally, the coronavirus disease has affected the economy both positively and negatively. A further study on impacts of the pandemic is highly recommended in order to ascertain the possible effects, this will be helpful in adapting the new normal and stabilizing the economy as a way to recovery of Kenya`s economy.
Maurice Gathu Munga is an Environmental Studies and Community Development Consultant