The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the varying levels of vulnerability countries, both developed and developing, face. It has tested the resilience of systems, both health and economy-wide systems to deal with and overcome shocks of global scale. From economic powerhouse of the USA, China, EU countries to MLICS of Latin America and SSA, we have witnessed the devastating effects of the pandemic, the resilience of countries to deal with it and the changes in economic and social development paradigm to deal with the new challenges. In respect to Research and policy development, Covid-19 has challenged research institutions and researchers to generate knowledge that speaks not only to the daunting challenges of Covid-19 itself but also to policymakers in efforts to devise coping mechanisms to deal with the disruptive effects of pandemic.
At PADRI, we are undertaking work to reflect on how the pandemic has challenged the development policies in Uganda and other low-income countries at the macro and meso-levels. Our policy analysis work is focusing on both, the short-term responses to the pandemic, such as the stimulus package from the World Bank and other development agencies to fund programmes responding to the Covid-19 , and the medium and long-term development policies and programming in the National Development Plan III. It will be particularly important to examine the innovations countries, firms, and individuals are adopting in response to the pandemic and the resultant effects. Undoubtedly, there has been significant policy changes across the economy, from the financial sector to the agriculture sector, and from private to public sector models of doing business. While some policies are targeting particular sectors, the inter-sectoral linkages imply the effects of these policies will be economy –wide. Policy analysts are already undertaking studies and will continue to do so to assess the optimal policy instruments and changes required which suit the different and dynamic circumstances countries, especially in low-income economies have been and continue to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of our work at PADRI has examined how women economic empowerment interventions have provided safety nets to women during the Covid-19 lockdown and beyond, and how these WECs can be supported to provide more meaningful resilience to women groups and individuals for their economic activities and livelihood rebound to post- Covid-19. It is even unconceivable to be talking about post- Covid-19 like post-WWII. What we are seeing is a new era of coping and dealing with Covid-19 for many years to come.
Over the coming years, and in line with PADRI’s mission and vision, we will continue to work with partners to generate evidence to guide development programming for benefiting our society. We see super-serious innovations coming up as a direct response to the pandemic and rather than mourning the past years, there is greater value to explore the new opportunities in the new era.