Kenyans hit harder by COVID restrictions than other African citizens – survey finds


COVID-19 restrictions have hit Kenyans more than any other country’s citizens, a new survey has found.

The survey by GeoPoll said that Kenyans experienced more financial and emotional distress from the pandemic than other African countries. The poll by Geopoll included six African countries in the survey they did in November.

March restrictions

Kenya has witnessed several income cuts, widespread layoffs, and many companies’ closure following the imposing of restrictions in March. The study found that 43 per cent of the 3,000 respondents it interviewed said that the pandemic had made their emotional well-being worse.

The respondents were from Kenya, Nigeria, DRC, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, and South Africa. Of them, three-quarters of the respondents in Nairobi said they had worse mental health than last year. Financial pressure was the largest cause of stress.

While 52 per cent of the respondents from all the six countries reported a drop in earnings on average, Kenya’s respondents were 64 per cent.

The Vice President for Marketing for GeopPoll, Roxanne Elliot, blamed this on extensive restrictions. They include an eight-month-long night curfew and three-months of movement restrictions between counties. Two of Kenya’s most productive counties, Nairobi and Mombasa, were among the counties under movement restrictions, meaning no coming in or going out of said counties.

Tax relief not enough

Additionally, Kenya’s government issued tax relief to the citizens, but many still struggle badly due to daily expenses remaining unaffected.

Furthermore, while 50 per cent of the other countries’ respondents reported a significant change in routine, Kenya’s respondents who said the same was at 66 per cent.

Kenyans are also bearish on things getting better, with just 44 per cent saying things to get better. 40 per cent, meanwhile, expect it to get worse.

Kenya’s economy has been limping even before the pandemic, with a rising debt ceiling causing a slow down in economic activities. This situation could get worse in 2021, as the government has announced higher taxations from January 2021.

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