COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa: Profound and Lasting Negative Effects on Education


The impact of the pandemic on education in sub-Saharan Africa.

The pandemic has struck sub-Saharan Africa with particular intensity. In 2020 – the first year of the pandemic – GDP per capita in the region fell an unprecedented 4.5 per cent. But while agriculture, industry and trade are slowly recovering, lost teaching days will exert an acute impact over the long term. A new ZEW study quantifies COVID-19’s impact on education in eight sub-Saharan countries.

The study identifies a large discrepancy in terms of lost teaching days: Young people from educationally disadvantaged households lost between 31 and 118 days of instruction in 2020 and 2021. By contrast, amongst young people whose parents have at least a primary school diploma, comparatively few instruction days were lost, ranging from 10 to 33. The researchers Guido Neidhöfer, Nora Lustig and Patricio Larroulet then simulated the effects of school closures and educational policies on three indicators: secondary school completion rates; social mobility; and long-term income inequality.

General documents

ZEW Discussion Paper “Nowcasting the Impact of Covid-19 on Education, Intergenerational Mobility and Earnings Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa”


PR Contact
Sabine Elbert
To the profile
Online Communications Manager,
Yvonne Bräutigam, MSc
To the profile