Economic impact of pandemic on citizens ‘minimal’

Bahrainis faced less economic impact from the pandemic compared with their counterparts in the UK and the US, according to the findings of a survey.

Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) had launched a multi-lingual survey in English, Arabic and Bengali in co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bahrain.

The online survey featured 14 questions related to how the pandemic affected the income, spending, financial stability and even the health of the participants.

“The analysis was done to study the socio-economic impact of the pandemic that covered about 3,000 respondents that included samples of Bahrainis and Bangladeshis,” said Derasat board chairman Dr Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

The data was compared with adult samples in the UK and the US. “The data from Bahrain was compared with the UK and the US and showed that Bangladeshis (in Bahrain) suffered the largest economic fallout due to Covid-19.”

However, Bahrainis faced considerable less economic impact compared with their counterparts in the UK and the US, Dr Shaikh Abdulla, who is also the Foreign Ministry’s Under-Secretary of International Affairs, highlighted during a high level virtual meet that for Bahraini respondents, job market training and loan deferrals were the most desirable support they received.

“The populations of the UK, the US and the Bangladeshis in Bahrain, exhibited great readiness to rely on a mixture of new employment, running down savings and decrease spending as a way of dealing with the financial challenges posed by Covid-19,” added Dr Shaikh Abdulla.

In addition, he highlighted that people with lower educational backgrounds faced greater difficulties during the pandemic than those with higher levels of education.

He told delegates that younger Bahrainis gained primary and secondary jobs, while other groups in Bahrain and in other countries lost them.

“In Bahrain, in terms of economic impact, Bahraini women generally fared better than Bahraini men, whereas in the UK and the US, the reverse was true,” added Dr Shaikh Abdulla.

Data also indicated that women tended to express a greater desire for psychological support than men, while men exhibited greater preferences to economic support.

During the meeting, the official highlighted Bahrain’s high Covid-19 testing performance, making it the second country after Luxembourg.

Dr Shaikh Abdulla vowed greater co-operation with the United Nations and its agencies to ensure national policies are in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).




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