Rebuilding the economy after a calamity

In 2008, the New York times reported that natural disasters stimulate economic growth because the rebuilding effort outweighs the economic losses from the disaster. Rebuilding efforts provide a short-term boost by attracting resources to the region. It continued to say, that by destroying old factories and roads, airports and bridges, the disasters allow new and more efficient infrastructure to be built, forcing the transition to a sleeker, more productive economy in the long term.

In our case with Cyclone Freddy, hundreds of lives have been lost and there is nothing that can replace a life. I recently watched a video clip of a member of parliament weeping at a Presidential function. The honorable member was deeply affected by the number of people that have died in his constituency and the number of people that had no access to basic items like food, water, and shelter. I am sure this situation is not only in his constituency but all other places the disaster has struck.

It is known worldwide that poor people live in areas of the highest environmental vulnerability and highest risk from natural hazards, and hence suffer the most. In a poor country like ours, rebuilding an economy after such a devastating disaster can be a very complex and challenging process. This is because we have limited resources and infrastructure making the economic recovery process very difficult. However, we can still do a few things to help the communities affected recover quickly.

1. Collaboration: I know we are a country that loves politics and greatly enjoys outsmarting each other politically even during difficult times as such. However, it’s high time we put politics aside and come together to create a system that will ensure not only recovery but community empowerment so that the communities can be able to sustain themselves. It is beautiful to observe that different political leaders have been on the fore front supporting communities and the cyclone victims with relief items and other materials. The collaboration needs to go beyond distributing relief items. It’s high time technocrats from different political angles come together and with a sense of patriotism create a system that will ensure economic growth and sustainability. Rebuilding an economy after a disaster of such magnitude requires collaboration across a wide range of stakeholders, including government officials, business leaders, community organizations, and residents. Encouraging collaboration and fostering partnerships can help to ensure that recovery efforts are effective and sustainable over the long-term.

2. Supporting small businesses: We all know that small businesses are often the lifeblood of local economies and can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of disasters. Providing support to small businesses through low-interest loans, grants, and other financial assistance can help them to rebuild and get back on their feet. These businesses include of those that have been affected and those not affected but operating in the disaster-affected areas.  

Overall, rebuilding an economy after a disaster requires a coordinated and sustained effort across multiple fronts. By taking a comprehensive approach and prioritizing areas of need, it’s possible to help communities recover and rebuild stronger than ever before.

Peter Yakobe is a development economist with an interest in resource mobilization and poverty alleviation

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