The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to significantly reduce trade flows due to global trade restrictions and economic lockdowns. The impact of a trade disruption is, however, not gender neutral. In developing countries, women form the majority of low-skilled and labor-intensive jobs in the export sector that are most affected by the pandemic. This article is based on a literature review that explores research on the gendered implications of trade on economic development. It also discusses the effects of previous epidemics on health and human capital in Africa. It outlines the various channels through which a pandemic-induced trade shock could have and has had ripple effects on African women. It provides some early evidence on the gendered impact of the current pandemic. Analysis of the literature reviewed highlights the importance of collecting and using gender-disaggregated trade data to devise socioeconomic and export trade policies in the short-term and long-term to protect vulnerable populations including women. The article concludes that the pandemic can be used as an opportunity for sub-Saharan Africa countries to build back better after COVID-19 by strengthening intraregional trade through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), investing in removal of gender-specific barriers facing female traders and entrepreneurs, and promoting gender mainstreaming in trade to drive sustainable development and sow the seeds of future resilience.

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