The Covid-19 pandemic has forced societies around the world to make difficult trade-offs, as they try respond to the public health crisis on one hand, and to the economic and social distress arising out of it on the other. In South Africa, these combined crises have exacerbated already high levels of unemployment, deepening poverty and heightening levels of hunger and food insecurity.
To mitigate the combined health, social and economic crises stemming from the Covid pandemic, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced, in April 2020, a range of support measures to mitigate their impact, including emergency social protection and employment stimulus measures.
Economic recovery is sometimes seen as distinct from poverty reduction, but income transfers and assistance help pay for consumer goods, which can in turn generate economic recovery and growth. As part of the second phase of the EU-AFD Research Facility on Inequalities, AFD is developing jointly with the Presidency of South Africa, a research program which aims to measure the stimulus effects on the South African economy.
Under this program of funding and support, we are launching a call for proposals for research programs that examine the effects of social grants and/or of public employment programs. It's part of an initiative to advance the evidence base and understanding of the stimulus effects of income transfer programs.
The research questions envisaged include – but are not limited to – the following:
- What are the impacts of local spending from income transfer programs on the informal sector and small enterprise in the local economy, in terms of returns generated, diversification of products and services, and/or increased circulation of funds in the local economy?
- Is there an increase in local investment in productive activity?
- What are the effects on the larger retail businesses servicing these communities and/or servicing local suppliers such as spaza shops? To what extent is such spending focused on particular product groups?
- Is it possible to ‘follow the money’ within key sectors and value chains, such as in the food sector, clothing, white goods or data usage, looking at local supply chains but also at trickle up effects in the core economy?
- In any of the above cases, what are the employment impacts and multipliers?
The call for proposals is being issued jointly by the South African Presidency and Agence Française de Developpement, in association with the European Union. A panel of experts appointed by them will assess the submissions, aiming to support a portfolio of research studies that contribute to the field in complementary ways.
Proposals should be for a maximum of R350,000 for a maximum period of one year.
To submit your proposal, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please specify in the subject heading: “Proposal_stimulus_analysis”.
For further inquiries, please contact Ms. Anda David, Scientific coordinator of the UE-AFD Research Facility on Inequalities, at: email@example.com.
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Successful applicants will be expected to participate in quarterly peer learning processes, in which all participating researchers participate in the review of papers by other contributors, with an eye to building a community in this field.
Papers will be presented in a final symposium.