Impact of COVID-19 on Light Manufacturing in the East African Community
The study assessed the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on light manufacturing within the EAC Partner States. At the EAC regional level, interventions to industrialize the region are in place and the role of manufacturing in terms of its share to GDP is about 20%. Manufacturing plays a crucial role in employment creation and transforming the EAC economies from being agro economies into industrialized ones. With the new variants of COVID-19 mutating in the world, the crisis continues with some countries entering the third wave, while in EAC, the second is expected. The EAC manufacturing companies must navigate through by implementing risk mitigation strategies to minimize the looming recessions and slowdowns that may result from second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. The major key business indicators that were negatively affected during the lockdown period (March to June 2020) included reduction in total turnover, revenues, and productivity, and increase in operating costs; but starting from the third quarter of 2020, productivity steadily improved, but is not yet to the levels before COVID-19. The manufacturing sector recovery needs continuous government interventions that guarantee inflows of cash by reducing the existing financial burdens (from financial institutions and tax obligations) and improve the access of affordable capita.