By Edward Lempinen
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year led to a devastating loss of jobs and income across the global south, threatening hundreds of millions of people with hunger and lost savings and raising an array of risks for children, according to new research co-authored at the University of California, Berkeley.
The research, published today (Feb. 5, 2021) in the journal Science Advances, found “staggering” income losses after the pandemic emerged last year, with a median 70% of households across nine countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America reporting financial losses...
But the crisis has also produced hopeful engagements. The CEGA initiative to support Togolese leaders in developing a system for digital relief payments could be a model for international partnerships.
Under that project, CEGA co-Director Joshua Blumenstock has worked closely with top government officials in Togo to develop an advanced data-driven system for identifying people in need and delivering financial aid. The system uses new computational technologies, with data from satellite imagery, mobile phones and traditional surveys to identify people or communities in economic distress...
Joshua Blumenstock is an associate professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley.