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WEF’s Immediate And Long-Term Measures To Reactivate The Economy Against The Pandemic

Petaling Jaya- The Special Edition of Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2020 was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to highlight the priority areas for economic recovery, revival, and transformation towards new economic systems given the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommendations for countries’ recovery and revival are based on four key areas: Enabling Environment; Human Capital; Markets; and Innovation Ecosystem.

In strengthening the enabling environment for economic revival, GCR 2020 recommended the public sector to enhance public service delivery by leveraging digitalisation, instil long-term thinking capacity within the government, embed strong governance, and regain public trust. In tackling high level of debts and widening inequalities, the report suggested for countries to strategise plan for future debt leveraging while in the long run shifting to more progressive taxation. Recovery also requires upgrading of digital technology and ICT utilities and infrastructure.

Issues in human capital especially in talent shortages, skills mismatches, disassociation of employee rewards and benefits, and health services  are more pronounced since the pandemic hit. GCR 2020 advised countries to scale up reskilling and upskilling programmes and progress to new labour market opportunities to manage issues of unemployment. Human capital in healthcare specifically needs expansion to mitigate the current pandemic and future needs.

In reviving markets, GCR 2020 proposes reinforcement of financial market stability and introduction of monetary incentives for businesses to secure. As international borders are still closed, trade openess declines, hence GCR 2020 recommended a balancing act between domestic resilience in supply chain and international movement of goods and people. The report also recommended rethinking competition and anti-trust frameworks in IR4.0 to ensure market access.

During the revival phase, countries are advised to increase public investment in R&D, incentivise R&D in private sector, and promote the proliferation of existing technologies to revive the innovation ecosystem. Efforts should align with the creation of new businesses and employment in “markets of tomorrow”, as well as to spur the creation of breakthrough technologies.

Dato’ Abdul Latif Haji Abu Seman, MPC Director General said, “Some recommendations from GCR 2020 align with Malaysia’s current efforts to address issues and challenges compounded by COVID-19. However, a lot still has to be done. In depth look into the recommendations by GCR 2020 is worth our time and energy as some suggestions fit into Malaysia’s context.”

The overview of GCR 2020 Special Edition was deliberated during one of the sessions of MPC’s National Competitiveness Webinar Series 2020 featuring Lawrence Kong, quality and productivity trainer at NexMu Pte Ltd.