Electricity usage: An early signal of the impact of COVID-19 on Uganda’s economy

Project Active from to State Effectiveness and State

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on the world, several governments have taken unprecedented measures to contain the speed of transmission and buy time to build much-needed testing and treatment capacity.

The problem, however, is that in a rapidly changing global and domestic environment, official government statistics that would typically be availed to policymakers, come with a significant lag (at least a month or more). Therefore, policymakers cannot keep pace with the abrupt economic changes the pandemic and shutdown have caused.

As a result, this creates a costly window of uncertainty in which households are exposed to the full economic costs of the downturn, but policymakers are unable to effectively measure these costs and respond accordingly.

This project attempts to use changes in electricity consumption during the COVID19 pandemic in Uganda to provide a reliable, high frequency indicator of economic activity.