Evidence to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in low-income countries

June 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented development challenges in low- and middle-income countries. Governments, international aid agencies, civil society organizations, and the private sector need evidence to mitigate the potentially devastating socio-economic impacts of the pandemic in developing regions, while also building the conditions for a more resilient future.

A fruit seller in the Abidjan district of Marcory wears a mask to protect herself and others during the COVID-19 crisis in Côte d'Ivoire.
Jennifer A. Patterson / ILO

IDRC has mobilized a rapid response to support sound, policy-relevant research in three areas:

  • monetary, fiscal, and regulatory policies to mitigate the economic impacts related to the pandemic and to rebuild in better ways;
  • measures in the public and private sectors to support vulnerable groups, while addressing disparities and promoting gender equality;
  • accountable responses to the pandemic that safeguard democratic freedoms, enhance security, and harness opportunities for the empowerment of women and youth.

Up to 25 think tanks, networks, and consortia in developing countries will receive funding as part of this initiative.

Efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries must contend with under-financed healthcare systems, the limited number of healthcare workers, lack of infrastructure including clean water and sanitation, crowded living conditions that prohibit physical distancing, and limited social safety nets to support people who have lost their sources of income.                                               

The world’s response must ensure that low- and middle-income countries can emerge from the pandemic without reinforcing or exacerbating the existing gender, social, and economic fault lines that put women and girls and other vulnerable populations disproportionately at risk. The pandemic also represents an opportunity to build stronger and more resilient societies in the face of climate change and future infectious disease outbreaks.

Supporting local capacities for knowledge and innovation is more relevant than ever to drive effective domestic policies and actions that are based on sound evidence and data.

IDRC will publish details of the research funded under this initiative over the next few months.