The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the socio-economic wellbeing of the national population through the Uganda High-Frequency Phone Survey (UHFPS). The financing for data collection and technical assistance has been provided by the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The survey recontacts households that had phone numbers for at least one household member or a reference individual from the Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS) 2019/20. The first round of the survey was conducted in June 2020, while the latest seventh round was conducted in October/November 2021 after the second lockdown was introduced in June 2021. This blog highlights selected findings on the economic impacts of the COVID-19 related measures from the latest round. Where possible we also compare the impacts from two different lockdowns introduced in March 2020 and June 2021 by using the data from rounds 1 and 7 conducted after the lockdowns.
The first most important indicator we looked at was employment.
Figure 1. Respondents working during last seven days across rounds, % of all respondents
Figure 2. Work stoppages by economic sector, % of respondents who stopped working
As shown in figure 3, the share of households with non-farm family businesses that were open declined from 43% to 41%, reversing the positive trend observed in previous rounds. The magnitude of closures was much smaller than in June 2020 after the first lockdown. However, many operating businesses reported less revenues in October/November 2021 compared to the previous round (figure 4). Specifically, family business revenues were lower for 65% of households compared to revenues in March/April 2021. Revenue losses were particularly pronounced in businesses operating in the services sectors.
Figure 3. Status of non-farm family business across rounds, % of households
Figure 4. Family non-farm businesses reporting less revenues compared to previous round, % of households with family non-farm businesses
Consistent with the negative trends observed in the labor market in October/November 2021, food security in Uganda deteriorated notably in this period as well. Figure 5 presents the dynamics of the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) indices across different rounds of the UHFPS. After a long period of relatively low food insecurity between September/October 2020 and March/ April 2021, the situation has drastically changed in recent months.
Food insecurity increased dramatically in October/November 2021 in all regions, with almost half of households reporting that their family members were moderately insecure and 12% reporting family members being severely food insecure at the national level.
In the first round of the UHFPS, food security was measured only for adult members of the household. Comparable FIES indices were constructed for the seventh round. It turns out that food insecurity was higher in October/November 2021 compared to June 2020. This could be related to higher work stoppages in the agriculture sector and rural areas associated with floods and dry spells recorded in the second season of 2020 and the first season of 2021.
Figure 5. Evolution of severe and moderate composite FIES index across all rounds, % of household members
If you are interested to learn more about findings from the seventh round of the UHFPS please check the brief here, while the microdata and related documentation are freely accessible at the World Bank’s Microdata Catalog here.
The members of the team working on the Uganda High-Frequency Phone Survey on COVID-19 (listed in alphabetical order for each institution) are: UBOS: Henry Mubiru, Andrew Mupere, Vincent Ssennono; World Bank: Aziz Atamanov (Poverty and Equity GP), Frederic Cochinard (LSMS), John Ilukor (LSMS), Talip Kilic (LSMS), and Giulia Ponzini (LSMS).