Timely data and evidence is essential to monitor and mitigate the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. By understanding the situation as it progresses, decision-makers can develop informed responses to protect the welfare of those most affected.

Laterite is conducting high-frequency phone surveys to understand the impact of COVID-19 on firms and households in Ethiopia for the World Bank and the Government of Ethiopia. Every three weeks for six months, Laterite will carry out phone surveys with a panel of over 3,000 households in rural and urban Ethiopia, and over 800 firms in the industry and services sectors.

How are the surveys carried out?

The 15-minute surveys, developed by the World Bank, are administered remotely by a team of Laterite enumerators based in Ethiopia. The enumerators working on this project are fluent in the local languages, conversant in English and experienced at data collection in the country. Before commencing the surveys, all enumerators completed a remotely-delivered training program to understand the survey instrument and aims of the study.

Incoming survey data is uploaded to Laterite’s monitoring dashboards daily. This means the Laterite team can follow up on any data quality issues encountered in real time. The World Bank and their Government of Ethiopia counterparts have access to this dashboard, enabling rapid analysis of the data. This way, policy makers can assess the effectiveness of government interventions as they are being implemented.

What have we learned so far?

According to the World Bank, results from the first round of phone surveys show that:

Decrease 88% of firms are expecting this fiscal year’s profits to be lower or much lower than last year. Firms are primarily affected by a significant fall in demand for products and services.

Youth labor 55% of respondents report that household incomes were either reduced or have totally disappeared.

Covid Households seem well aware of the virus and most have knowledge of behaviors necessary to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading the virus.

Urbanization 19% of respondents in urban and 10% in rural areas lost their job since the outbreak of COVID-19. Hospitality, construction, wholesale and retail industries the most affected in terms of job losses.

Visit the World Bank website for more findings.

What’s next?

In the coming months, this study will offer rolling insights into the situation of Ethiopian households and firms as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. We are also sharing key findings of the firm surveys in Amharic directly with interviewed firms. Full details of the survey, methodology and findings to date are available on the World Bank website. The World Bank will publish results of future rounds of data collection as they are completed.

Update August 2020: Read this Associated Press article on the impacts of COVID-19 on global poverty, including findings from the World Bank surveys mentioned above. Laterite’s Data Manager in Ethiopia, Fitsum Dagmawi, was one of the sources interviewed for the article.