The latest blog in our COVID-19 series reports on the economic impact the virus is having on refugees living in Nairobi, Kenya.
The 81,000 refugees living in Nairobi are heavily reliant on informal urban economies for their livelihoods, being largely excluded from formal labour markets. In choosing to live in the city, they have largely given up access to humanitarian assistance, opting instead for better access to economic opportunities and social services. However, as Naohiko Omata writes, in order to reduce the spread of the virus, Kenya has implemented a curfew and lockdown that restricts people’s mobility in certain counties and parts of Nairobi. As a result of this, “many urban refugees are unable to pursue their livelihoods in the same ways as before. They have few savings and depend on the day-to-day cash they generate from street vending. They now face a struggle to buy food every day. And they have the added challenge of being excluded from other channels of support.”