5 out of 10 Kenyans have taken loans to cover expenses as COVID-19 distress deepens – Report

Five out of every 10 Kenyans or an equivalent half the population have taken loans to meet monthly expenses as the Covid-19 pandemic deepens economic wounds to households.

According to a report by GeoPoll titled the financial impact of Coronavirus in Sub-Saharan Africa, 36 percent of Kenyans are now relying on credit to cover monthly expenses ahead of savings at 26 percent and salary income at 16 percent.

The majority of Kenyans have however been thrown further into the depths of economic turmoil to feed from hand to mouth as expenses now outweigh incomes significantly.

The survey covering 500 respondents shows 37 percent of monthly expenses needs range from Ksh.10,001 and Ksh.20,000 against lower incomes where a majority 53 percent earned less than Ksh.10,000 prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The observed economic hardships were already profound pre-COVID with 39 percent of Kenyans denoting their unemployment status between January and March this year.

60 percent of those who held jobs at the onset of the pandemic now report to have stopped working with 18 percent of respondents informing they will have no jobs to return to upon the lifting of all restrictions to contain the pandemic.

65 percent of Kenyans are now highly concerned of inabilities to meet routine costs including food purchases and rent with 37 percent stating they have less than a month in their ability to settle these bills.

48 percent of Kenyans have meanwhile reported a drastic decline in income amidst concerns on the stay of livelihoods.

In spite of there being social programs by government to cushion the most vulnerable citizens, 90 percent of surveyed responses indicate they are yet to receive any form of aid since the start of the pandemic.

The remaining 10 percent of respondents have meanwhile tapped aid largely from family and friends, with government assistance coming at a distant third place after donations.

The survey yielded near similar results in South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Mozambique.