Friday 09 December 2022 - 12:17:03 am

Coronavirus proved need to pivot to digital investments and renewable energy: ADSD

ABU DHABI, 12th November, 2020 (WAM) -- On the third and final day of the 7th Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, ADSD, Speakers said that COVID-19 has exposed gaps in healthcare systems around the world.

At the same time, however, the pandemic has positive sides such as employing innovation and technology in the health sector, they added.

Experts pointed to the problem of lack of certainty despite recent reports that a vaccine is about to be manufactured, which means that the economic consequences will continue even after 2021.

Dr. Shoba Suri, Senior Fellow with Observer Research Foundation’s Health Initiative, in New Delhi, said that healthcare systems were not designed to deal with the challenge imposed by this pandemic which comes once every 100 years.

She pointed out that one of the most important impacts of the pandemic that must be dealt with is the fatigue and pressure on the infrastructure of healthcare systems and resources allocated for other health problems as a result of focusing on COVID-19.

Mahshid Abir, Senior Physician Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation thinks that the Coronavirus pandemic has made us realise the limitations of our health systems. On the other hand, however, the pandemic has forced us to innovate and use technologies which were not used before, Abir added.

In the panel that dealt with post-Coronavirus economy, Professor Giacomo Luciani, who teaches at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said that with the growing possibility of finding a vaccine soon, world economies might improve but will not go back to pre-Corona state due to the psychological impact of the pandemic.

He said that growth over the past half-century was led by growing consumption and families were encouraged to consume more. As a result, there was a huge global growth led by the United States and Europe, Luciani added.

He pointed out that this model has started to recede because the world has realised the importance of reducing pollution and stop harming nature and environment, he said.

Dr. Nasser Saidi, the Founder and President of Nasser Saidi & Associates, stated that the global economy is being hit by higher uncertainty as global production has dropped by 4.5 percent, global labour income is estimated to have declined by 11 percent and direct foreign investments have fallen by 15 percent at a minimum in the first half of 2020.

"It is important to realise that world top technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have developed into major powers in the global arena. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for bridging the digital gaps between various countries and the need for addressing internal divisions in these countries themselves," he added.

Dr. Mathew J. Burrows, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, suggested that the pandemic has helped the gravity centre of the global economy move into East Asia more quickly, as China’s capability to cope with the pandemic - even though it was the first nation to be hit by the breakout- was striking. GCC countries can benefit from the pandemic given the increasing interest in oil supplies to restore global growth," he added.

Dr. Zaid Eyadat, the Director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, pointed out that COVID-19 has proved that supply chains are part of national power, and that countries which used to depend on China’s chains of supply will have to depend on local and regional resources of supplies.

At the end of the 7th ADSD, Dr. Ebtesam Al Ketbi, President of the Emirates Policy Center, presented the summary and conclusions that speakers have reached throughout eight discussion panels over the three days.

WAM/MOHD AAMIR/Hazem Hussein