The Impact of Covid-19 on Suppliers and Workers in Africa
Research to understand the impact of Covid-19 on suppliers and workers in Africa
In response to this challenge, Partner Africa and &Wider worked with global businesses and their suppliers operating in agriculture, floriculture, textiles and waste management across Africa to research the reality on the ground for both suppliers and workers to understand the impact of the pandemic and to provide retailers and buyers an insight into these challenges.
In addition, Partner Africa and &Wider identified and shared examples of good practice that can serve as an inspiration to others and made recommendations as to how businesses can put in place policies and processes to monitor and mitigate human rights risks – including in times of a global pandemic.
“There was significant evidence of employers providing PPE and hand sanitiser to workers to take home, an acknowledgement that workplace safety is directly linked to workers’ families’ ability to remain safe in the home. One supplier worked with the local community radio station to develop health and safety bulletins delivered by the on-site medic.”
Partner Africa/&Wider Research Report, Good Practice example
Partner Africa and &Wider have gathered data from suppliers, workers, and management through various anonymous call cycles and semi-structured interviews. Key learnings from the research included:
- The challenges that suppliers faced included price hikes, cancelled or fewer purchase orders, late payments, increased cost of transport and airfreight and adapting to social distancing requirements (e.g. hiring more transportation for workers to travel to work). Most suppliers seem to have adapted well to new hygiene requirements and businesses reported relative ease in affording and securing PPE for their workers.
- A large number of workers reported having seen a change in their terms of employment (payment, holidays, working hours or even being laid off). Workers were very concerned about the swift reduction in family income, which impacts financial and food security, and about the perception that there are currently too few workers to do what needs to be done, impacting workplace pressures and workload issues.