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WEF: No country is fully prepared for 11 priority areas to battle COVID-19 effects

Lianna Brinded
·Head of Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
Planet earth illustration. Photo: Getty
Planet earth illustration. Photo: Getty

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released a special edition of its highly-anticipated Global Competitiveness Report on Wednesday which says that “no country is fully prepared,” to battle the current affects of the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged business across the globe.

However, the US allegedly seems to be faring better than the UK.

In its Global Competitiveness Report Special Edition 2020: How Countries are Performing on the Road to Recovery it pointed out that some countries are doing better than others, especially those with:

  • Advanced digital economies;

  • strong social safety nets;

  • and robust healthcare systems.

Usually every year WEF releases its benchmark Global Competitiveness Report that takes a look at 98 indicators across 140 countries to determine the overall ranking. Each indicator uses a scale from 0 to 100, to signify how close an economy is to the ideal state or “frontier” of competitiveness. Those indicators are then organised into 12 pillars, such as health, skills, financial system, infrastructure, and institutions.

But given the fact that the world has undergone an unprecedented health crisis in recent history with the onset of COVID-19, WEF brought out a new version of the report that takes into account how countries have handled the pandemic — based on data gathered from 37 countries mapped against 11 priorities, including:

  • Recovery and revival;

  • assesses the features that helped countries be more effective in managing the pandemic;

  • and provides an analysis of which countries are best poised for an economic transformation towards systems that combine “productivity,” “people” and “planet” targets.

“The combined health and economic shocks of 2020 have impacted the livelihoods of millions of households, disrupted business activities, and exposed the fault lines in today’s social protection and healthcare systems,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of WEF.

“The crisis has also further accelerated the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on trade, skills, digitization, competition and employment, and highlighted the disconnect between our economic systems and societal resilience. In this moment, it is crucial to not only reflect on how best to return to growth, but also, how to build back better economies that improve outcomes for people and the planet.

“This special edition of the Global Competitiveness Report provides the basis to support such deeper reflection, providing policymakers with priorities across three timeframes: those priorities that emerged from before the crisis, those priorities that are critical for the shorter term revival, and those priorities that are essential for longer term transformation for better outcomes on shared prosperity and sustainability in the future.

How the US and UK stack up

The report revealed that the UK is “relatively well prepared” in two key areas — rethinking labour laws and social protection for the new economy and the new needs of the workforce

The US is apparently doing marginally better — it is relatively well prepared in four key areas: incentivising innovation, facilitating the markets of tomorrow, rethinking competition to ensure market access and incentivising firms to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion to enhance creativity.

WEF pointed out that since it has renosed the focus of its annual report, “the concepts of economic transformation are relatively new and data is limited.” However, using these five key pillars, it showed how there are some key countries that are best prepared for economic transformation:

Table: WEF
Table: WEF

“During this time of profound uncertainty, the health crisis and economic downturn have forced a fundamental rethink of growth and its relationship to outcomes for people and planet,” said Saadia Zahidi, managing director, World Economic Forum.

“Policy-makers have a remarkable opportunity to seize this moment and shape new economic systems that are highly productive while growing shared prosperity and environmental sustainability.”

Check out Yahoo Finance UK for more bite-size articles and analysis from the Global Competitiveness Report Special Edition 2020: How Countries are Performing on the Road to Recovery

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