Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak on responding to COVID-19 in developing countries

WIDER Webinar Series

Professor Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak joins the WIDER Webinar Series to discuss new research on migration and labour market impacts of COVID-19 in developing countries. 

Migration and the labour market impacts of COVID-19

Social distancing policies to contain the global pandemic include restrictions that limit people’s geographic mobility and hence prevent migration as a source of income. In addition, many nations have responded to the public health crisis by revoking work visas for existing labor migrants and sending foreign workers home. 

In this webinar Professor Mobarak will present evidence that both the public health risks of COVID-19 and the economic fallout from mitigation policies have been particularly damaging to households that engage in labor migration.

Further he will discuss findings from a study done by a joint research team of the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE) and the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility in Kathmandu which tracked 2,600 households in rural Nepal over five rounds of surveys during both lean and harvest seasons, before and after the COVID-19 lockdown. Their results suggest continued lockdowns may lead to even greater hunger, malnutrition, and desperation than what has already been observed. Read more from Professor Mobarak on this topic in his recent Foreign Policy article and Yale Insights article.

Barbara Barungi joins as discussant to provide an outline of the COVID-19 impacts in Nigeria, particularly the economic stimulus packages, health interventions, and implications of the closure of borders/lockdown. She will address the policy challenges faced in assisting the most vulnerable groups, and provide insight for more sustainable policies for the future.

UNU-WIDER Director, Kunal Sen will chair the event.

About the speakers

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak is a Professor of Economics at Yale University with concurrent appointments in the School of Management and in the Department of Economics.

Mobarak is the founder and faculty director of the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE). He holds other appointments at Innovations for Poverty Action, the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, the International Growth Centre (IGC) at LSE.

Mobarak has several ongoing research projects in Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Kenya, Malawi and Sierra Leone. He conducts field experiments exploring ways to induce people in developing countries to adopt technologies or behaviors that are likely to be welfare improving. He also examines the complexities of scaling up development interventions that are proven effective in such trials.

Barbara Barungi is the Founder and Managing Partner of Imara Africa Consulting firm. The firm provides advisory services in the areas of economic policy management and public policy to governments and private sector organisations across West and East Africa. She previously worked as at the African Development Bank as the Lead Economist on Nigeria. And prior to that served as a macroeconomist for Africa at the UNDP Bureau for Africa, New York. She has also taught economics at both Makerere University (Uganda) and Witswatersrand University (South Africa). In her 25-year development policy experience she has covered various African countries including Angola, Liberia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

WIDER Webinar series

The WIDER Webinar Series provides a platform to discuss COVID-19 and its effect on development and impact on the Global South. The webinars feature speakers renowned for their work on development issues, presenting new research on the implications they foresee of COVID-19. 

Recordings will also be available after the event here.

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