COMESA Countries should consider forming Public Private Partnerships to reduce the burden of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the limited government resources. These partnerships will also help the governments to assist the people most affected such as women in the micro and small-scale trading sector.
According to Gender Expert at COMESA Secretariat, Ms. Mekia Redi, governments in the region need to take the initiative and invite the private sector and philanthropists to be on board and support the COVID-19 response in a comprehensive manner.
“Partial or total lockdowns have led to loss of jobs and income for most people especially those in micro and small-scale businesses hence the need for the private sector to be brought on board to help tackle the impact of this disease,” she said in a statement issued in Lusaka.
To restore the social and business environment as quickly as possible, she noted, adequate information and support should be provided to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This is in addition to establishing a national fund (in each country) to mitigate the impact of the pandemic the communities.
Further, Member States should consider developing joint action plans to tackle the Covid-19 to enable countries to support one another by sharing experiences, good practices and document statistics.
Although the Coronavirus affects all groups of the population, the socio-economic effect is more detrimental to small businesses including small scale cross border traders of whom the majority are women.