Impacts of AIDS in Africa

Impacts of AIDS in Africa.

Impacts of AIDS in Africa

Aid has become a major cause of illnesses and deaths in Africa. Impacts of AIDS have been phenomenal in developing most developing countries, especially in Africa. In the year 2001, 3 million people died out of AIDS pandemic in Africa.[1] In that year, AIDs was the fourth largest cause of deaths in sub-Saharan Africa after heart-related diseases, stroke, and respiratory related diseases. The world has over 40 million living with HIV/AIDS. However, 70% of that population comes from Africa.[2] More than 6000 Africans die each day as a result of AIDS pandemic. Moreover, over 11000 people are infected with HIV/AIDS each day in Africa. By 2008, about 33 million people were infected with AIDS in Africa. In the same year, 2 million people died because of the pandemic.[3] In 2008, Africa accounted for seven deaths out of ten deaths in the world.[4] Two-thirds of adults with HIV/AIDS infection globally comes from Africa, and 90% of children infections are also found in Africa.[5] Consequently, the pandemic has negatively affected every aspect of life in most African countries from social life, economic, to family relationships.

Africa is among the poorest continents in the world. Most of the countries in Africa are underdeveloped or developing. Therefore, most of the countries have borne the biggest economic brunt as a result of Aids pandemic. Economic development is a challenge in most African countries and AIDS pandemic has added another burden to most of the ailing economies in Africa.[6] AIDs have affected the most productive groups in the society. Therefore, Aids has affected labor supply in the economy.

Reduced Labor Supply

The pandemic has caused increased mortality and morbidity in most African societies. Death among the young population has deprived African countries skilled labor in key sectors of the economy including the health care, production, and education sector.[7] For instance, in South Africa, more than 20% of students pursuing health and nursing course are infected with HIV/AIDS. Moreover, more than 60% of the workers working in South African mines are young between the ages of 25-40 years.[8] The labor supply in the mining sector is expected to fall significantly as a result of high infections rate among the young people in the country. According to Aardt, more than 90% adults who will in South Africa be in the productive age bracket of 20 to 50 years.[9] Consequently, the country will affect the labor supply in the country. Some of the sectors that have been heavily affected by the AIDS pandemic include agriculture, construction and mining, and manufacturing industries.[10] Early deaths of skilled labor lower the quality of labor supply in the economy since new labors do not have the experience that their predecessors had.[11] The sectors require productive labor that can assist in doing most of the production activities. Most of the economies in Africa rely on agriculture hence productive labor is an important aspect of the economy.[12] Lack of labor supply has affected the quality of agriculture hence impacting negatively on the economy.[13] According to a report by FAO, Namibia will lose 26% of its labor supply by 2020 in the agricultural sector.

Botswana is projected to lose 23%, South Africa, and Mozambique 20% while Kenya will lose 17% of labor supply in agriculture by 2020.[14] The impact will be phenomenal given that most of the above countries rely on agriculture to spur their economy. Moreover, acute labor crisis in the agriculture sector affects nutrition in most African countries as the production of nutritious food is compromised.[15]

However, the number of new births has been compensating the number of people dying and withdrawing from the labor force. However, the level of skills among the new entrants into the labor market is the issue of contention.[16] High infection rates in Africa are among the unskilled labor due to low socio-economic status and frequent seasonal mobility of labor. Increased number of orphans increases the rate of child labor in most African countries as they try to earn a living. Moreover, the education sector has been affected as a result of the death of teachers and important staff in the sector. Therefore, the teacher-pupil ratio has increased significantly affecting the quality of education in most of the countries. Moreover, the most of the full-time laborers turn to part-time labor in an attempt to take care of their ailing relatives.

Labor Production

Deaths resulting from AIDS pandemic lead to the replacement of the experienced labor force with inexperienced labor force which affects the quality of labor production. Labor production is also affected by the withdrawal of experienced labor force from the economy due to HIV/AIDS infections.[17]

Moreover, most companies incur huge costs as the infected employees take leaves to seek medical attention. For instance, corporations in Kenya and Uganda incur $ 17 loss per employee as a result of reduced production due to much time and costs spent by employees seeking medical attention.[18] Moreover, reduced labor production leads to a decline in revenue and profitability of most of the economic sectors. Fall in revenue leads to decline in taxes and hence to lead to declining in revenue for development programs. The increase in some orphans affects production in the agricultural sector, which is a major source revenue in most African economies.

There are various impacts of low labor production in African countries. One of the impacts is a decline in exports and increase in imports. Moreover, low production is experienced in various sectors of the economy such as agriculture, mining, and manufacturing lead to a decline in commodities for exports. On the other hand, there is increased import to make up for the insufficiencies available in the market and to acquire medical equipment to cater for the ailing population. The cost of imports is high as compared to the revenues gained from exports. Consequently, most of the African countries continue being poor due to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the society. Most of the infected persons remain in home giving the elderly and the young children to take care of them.[19] Consequently, children and the elderly are torn between taking care of their patients and engaging in productive economic activities. Therefore, the quality of life is affected as much of the income is spent on caregiving while little time is spent in work. The elderly giving care to the young infected people is also left with the burden of paying school fees for the children that have been left behind after the death of the parents.[20]

Subsequently, most senior women incur heavy costs in educating, caring for the infected persons, medical bills, and cost of funerals. The high costs lead to poverty and decline in the purchasing power in the society.[21] Low standards of living affect consumption of goods and services produced locally hence impacting negatively on economic development.

Moreover, AIDS has not only impacted on the economy but also on the elements of security and instability. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has affected the ability of most of the African countries to produce enough food to cope with the frequent food crisis in the country.[22] Moreover, increased number of orphans in the society has increased their susceptibility to exploitation and radicalization, which is, causes instability in most nations.[23] The increase in crime would add a burden to the levels of poverty experienced in most African countries. However, in most countries, high numbers of orphans are taken good care off in children homes, and in government-sponsored rehabilitation facilities, thus the chances of exploitation and radicalization are mitigated.[24] Moreover, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS has deprived most of the African countries healthy youth of serving in the military and other security departments. In some countries, for one to be recruited in the police or military department, he/she must be HIV/AIDS free.

The Impacts on Economic Development

Most of the African economies have been impacted negatively by the prevalence of HIV/AID pandemic. AIDS has affected the rate of economic growth significantly. According to a study on the impact of HIV/AIDS on Africa’s economic development, it was established that the pandemic causes a decline in economic growth by 2-4% per year in most of the sub-Saharan Africa nations.[25] Moreover, increased prevalence of the pandemic affects investment by 75% in most of the Africans countries. Additionally, reduced supply of skilled labor affects economic production by 50% per year and increase imports not only for secondary goods but also for basic commodities such as food due to decline in production.[26] For instance, the pandemic caused an 8% decline in the GDP per capita in South Africa in the year 2010.[27] Moreover, in the same year, consumption of goods and services declined by 12% as a result of low purchasing power caused by the pandemic.[28]

HIV/AIDS pandemic has caused more economic and social problems in the most African countries. Labor supply and quality of labor have suffered a big blow as a result of the pandemic. Development programs have been jeopardized as a fund set aside for development are directed to giving care to the patients injected. Moreover, parents and children taking care of their relatives are affected economically. Most of the caregiving spends their time looking for their relatives at the expense of engaging in economically viable activities. Many sectors of the economy including agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, and most of the unskilled labor have borne the biggest brunt of the pandemic. Consequently, AIDS pandemic has brought more poverty in Africa since economic growth has been affected significantly by its high prevalence. Children have become orphans and vulnerable to exploitation and death of parents has deprived children their breadwinners. Therefore, it is important for the global governments to put in place-concerted effort in a bid to mitigate the effects of AIDS on Africa.




Aardt, Carel Van. “The Impact of HIV/AIDS on the South African Labor Market from a Critical Perspective.” SA Journal of Demography 8, no. 1 (2002): 47-50.

Copson, Raymond W. “Aids in Africa .” Accessed April 5, 2017.

Coulibaly, Ibrahima. “The Impact of HIV/AIDS on the Labor Force in sub-Saharan Africa: A Preliminary Assessment.” Accessed April 5, 2017.—ed_protect/—protrav/—ilo_aids/documents/publication/wcms_117178.pdf

Dixon, Simon, McDonald, Scott and Roberts, Jennifer. “The Impact of HIV and AIDS on Africa’s Economic Development.” BMJ Journals 324.7331 (2002): 232-234.

Feldbaum, Harley, Lee, Kelley, and Patel, Preeti. “The National Security Implications of HIV/AIDS.” PLoS Med 3, no. 6 (2006): 171.

Lekalakala-Mokgele, Eucebious. “A Literature Review of the Impact of HIV and AIDS on the role of the elderly in the Sub-Saharan African Community: Review Article.” Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Science 16, no. 1 (2011): 1-6.



[1] Simon Dixon, Scott McDonald, and Jennifer Roberts, “The Impact of HIV and AIDS on Africa’s Economic Development,” BMJ Journals 324, no. 7331 (2002): 232.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Raymond Copson, “Aids in Africa,” accessed April 5, 2017,

[5] Dixon, McDonald and Roberts, “The Impact of HIV and AIDS,” 233.

[6] Carel Van Aardt, “The Impact of HIV/AIDS on the South African Labor Market from a Critical Perspective,” SA Journal of Demography 8, no. 1 (2002): 47.


[7] Dixon, McDonald and Roberts, “The Impact of HIV and AIDS,” 232-234.

                [8] Aardt, “The Impact of HIV/AIDS on the South African,” 48.

                [9]  Ibid.

                [10] Ibid.

                [11] Dixon, McDonald and Roberts, “The Impact of HIV and AIDS,” 232-234.

                [12] Ibrahima Coulibaly, “The Impact of HIV/AIDS on the Labor Force in sub-Saharan Africa: A Preliminary Assement,” accessed April 5, 2017,—ed_protect/—protrav/—ilo_aids/documents/publication/wcms_117178.pdf


                [13] Ibid.


                [14] Ibid.


                [15] Ibid.


[16] Dixon, McDonald and Roberts, “The Impact of HIV and AIDS,” 232-234.


                [17] Ibid.

                [18] Ibid.

                [19] Ibid.

                [20] Eucebious Lekalakala-Mokgele, “A Literature Review of the Impact of HIV and AIDS on the Role of the Elderly in the Sub-Saharan African Community: Review Article,” Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Science 16, no. 1 (2011): 1-6.


                [21] Coulibaly, “The Impact of HIV/AIDS on the Labor Force.”


                [22] Ibid.


                [23] Harley Feldbaum, Kelley Lee, and Preeti Patel, “The National Security Implications of HIV/AIDS,” PLoS Med 3, no. 6 (2006): 171.


                [24] Ibid.


[25] Dixon, McDonald and Roberts, “The Impact of HIV and AIDS,” 232-234.


                [26] Ibid.

                [27] Ibid.

                [28] Ibid.

Impacts of AIDS in Africa

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