The Economist Magazine put out a recent report about the “peril and the promise” relating to how COVID-19 will impact the global economy. While the COVID-19 pandemic has some similarities to the Spanish Flu of 1918, the death toll is much lower in comparison but the economic hit has been much higher. The “great recession” of 2009 shrank the world economy by just 0.1%. COVID-19 will have caused an 8% decline in the world economy by the end of 2020. That is huge.
The World Bank is estimating that 89 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty, an increase of 15% globally. It is estimated that low and middle income economies will shrink this year for the first time in 60 years. In the high income economies, there have been unprecedented interventions in labor and capital markets, but that is not the case in low and middle income economies.
These changes will bring long-lasting effects. These economic changes will likely spill into challenges in developing countries that lead to greater unrest, emotional challenges, familial challenges, and so on. We have heard of this already, with an increase in teenage pregnancies and domestic violence.
In the past week, Discipling Marketplace Leaders, with the help of our donors, was able to release another $60,000 to our partners in ten countries to do more business development. This brings the total that we have sent to our partners in ten different countries in Africa to $160,000 USD. We are so thankful to God for this!
What are our partners doing with these funds? They are working on sustainability projects! As employment has closed down, many people are returning to agriculture, so our partners are working with various ministries of agriculture to get people going on pig farms, fish farms, goat and dairy farms, mushroom and other crop farms. They are working “Joseph” projects, helping farmers to store their grains so that they don’t sell when the market is flooded, and “Daniel” projects, helping people get better training to do their business better (for example, our partner in Nigeria is doing regular zoom calls called “Hour Farms” where they spend an hour together on Zoom to improve farming techniques). Others are using these funds to give low interest loans to business people who are struggling to restock their businesses.
We thank God for our partners who are using their spheres of influence to work creatively during this difficult time. We are hearing so many testimonies of new people and areas reached and we hope to share more of that with in the near future.
Please continue to pray for those facing extreme poverty, with no access to governmental financial aid, medical insurance, or access to affordable credit. And pray for our teams as they continue to work for sustainable economic growth!