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[ venture] How the impact of COVID19 is different from climate change in a developing county

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

I needed to research Myanmar and read this report on "how the Corona pandemic has affected livelihoods in Myanmar. The results were different from my intuition so that I will explain that.

As a long-time analyst of climate change vulnerability, I am often told that "farmers are the most affected and vulnerable to climate change". So what about the 'Corona pandemic'? The detailed explanation of the vulnerability framework is a topic for another time, but since external pressures impact us, the type of impact and the people affected depending on the external pressure. Climate and weather directly affect agriculture, so it is easy to imagine that farmers are positively impacted by climate change. How a corona pandemic would affect economic activity would be more complex than climate. This economic crisis is not a financial one, and it may affect even the smallest villages because people are no longer going out. This report gives us a glimpse of the impact.

There are several statistics in this report, but this table illustrates the difference in economic impact roughly. The table shows farmers have a lower impact on income than other employed workers and traders. Farming does not have a fixed monthly income, so looking at differences over several months does not provide a robust analysis due to seasonality. For this reason, subjective reports such as this one give us a rather rough idea of trends.

Other tables show that the impact is lower in rural areas than in urban areas, confirming the above explanation. The data also show that urban people are more worried about the Corona pandemic than rural people, not only in terms of monetary income but also in terms of food security, as rural people can feed themselves.

Overall, however, poverty is higher in rural areas, where people live on less than $2-a-day. This fact means that those who have no income in the first place have no way to reduce it further, so farmers are not generally more resilient to the Corona pandemic. Moreover, the World Bank report shows that Myanmar will not have negative GDP growth in 2020, but if we look at people's livelihoods, excluding government spending and corporate investment, the Corona pandemic's impact will not be small in the country.

This research is excellent because data has been collected quickly and made available to the public. It allows us to understand the current situation rather than speculate about it, and we can think about what measures have to be taken. The Corona pandemic is having a different impact on the livelihoods in developing countries compared to climate change.

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