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Afghanistan Coronavirus Impact - Country Note I

Jun 9, 2020

Afghanistan faces numerous grave challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to undermine the country’s peace process, overwhelm its health care system, and slash economic output 17 percent by 2023, according to a new UNDP assessment of how the coronavirus might affect what was already one of the world’s poorest countries. 

Afghanistan is especially vulnerable because of its limited health care system and few medical personnel, weak infrastructure and social cohesion after 40 years of war, and large influx of refugees returning from Iran and Pakistan—without proper quarantine and containment measures in place. The government also lacks the revenue and resources needed to mitigate the pandemic.

Widespread poverty is likely to worsen, with 67 percent of non-agricultural jobs considered “vulnerable,” UNDP’s assessment finds. Emerging on the heels of a severe drought in 2018, COVID-19 could cause an economic contraction of 4 percent in 2020 alone and 17 percent by 2023, compared with pre-2019 activity.


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