For the past few months,notably since March,the world economy has been on standstill.We have watched oil prices tumble,millions lose jobs,health systems overwhelmed and we have all been grasping at straws .
We are living through an existential crisis that is not only affecting our perosnal lives but one that is going to affect economies for the next few years . The struggle to try find ways of dealing with the effects of the pandemic so that we can have our economies functioning again are still touch and go at the moment.
Emerging market economies during this pandemic remain fragile and the first order of business would be to find ways to survive through this crisis as they chart the way forward.
In waking up to what has become the new normal,emerging market economy leaders should be aware of the pervading feeling of fear which our modern society is immersed in at the moment .While acknowledging this fear,leaders should be able to communicate recovery efforts they are making for their economies .
Among the areas that I thought should be topmost of their minds as recovery projects for economies are planned are the following :
Managing health structures and systems should be of top most priority.We are all facing a strange new virus in our midst and health experts are giving the earliest time we can have a vaccine is next year.
Thinking about the safety of people should be foremost.There should be strengthening of health systems and structures to ensure the pandemic does not get out of control.
At the moment all health systems globally have been tested by the numbers of those infected by the virus.Gaps in healthcare have been identified and while all efforts have been made to ensure the numbers are contained,some countries have been more affected than others.
The areas where the systems have failed should be used as opportunities for change,the change should be directed towards making the systems respond better and more effectively.
By ensuring that the pandemic is contained then we create confidence for individuals and companies and set our economies on the path to recovery.
2.Effective Political Leadership
We have seen how different political leaders have responded to the crisis and it has revealed the different calibres of leadership globally.
Health systems and structures can only be managed well if we have effective leadership at the top.Emerging market economies are often affected by the market volatility that comes as a result of the political instability these markets are prone to.These instability is largely as a result of the kind of leadership in these countries.
This leaves emerging markets very vulnerable and unstable.The only way to counter this is to ensure good governance through the involvement of civil society and increasing the awareness of the rolegood politics can play in the development of a country’s economy.
Ensuring that leaders that are elected to lead these economies have some level of personal responsibility to the leadership positions they hold will help stem corruption that in some countries is endemic and has frustrated development efforts for many years thus stunting economic growth.
3.Conducive Business Environments
With health systems working,effective and trusted leadership at the helm , efforts can be channelled to ensuring conducive business environments are created.This allows for entrepreneurship which is crucial to the growth and development of emerging market economies is nurtured and allowed to thrive.
The right environment would include things like tax breaks for businesses,prudent use of public money,incentives to encourage entrepreneurial growth and provision of urban amenities that make business operations attractive.
Once the right environment is in place it becomes very easy for markets to develop and and fuel economic growth.An appropriate business environment also helps attract the right investment locally and internationally.
A great business environment is a great confidence booster for any market.
5.Involvement of Private Sector in Recovery Plans
Involvment of private business owners in recovery efforts by policy makers should not be ignored.
Including private citizens who run businesses in a country’s recovery plans will give unique insights to governments as to he struggles businesses are going through during this pandemic.It also allows business owners to feel part of the recovery process and they will be more willing to support any initiatives governments to get their economies back on track.
Politicians during this pandemic have been at the forefront of writing its narrative,involving economists,business owners and citizens in recovery efforts will ensure these recovery plans have higher success rates.
Nothing would make politicians happier than knowing they have political goodwill from the citizens they lead in putting their economies back on track.
5.Youth Factor and use of Technology
A unique characteristics of emerging market economies are that their populations are relatively younger compared to more developed markets.These young people are more conversant with technology,interact with brands seamlessly online and their potential to influence market trends is increasing
They will play a big role in shaping the opportunities existent in emerging markets as well as influence economic policies in these countries.
Technology will play a big role in how these markets grow and opportunities in which technology can be made use of by businesses to grow and to create employment opportunities should be sought and made use of.
Technology also provides for great collaboration opportunities among different industries and this is where opportunities for growth as well as to lower unemployment levels in emerging markets will be found.
6.Long Term View
We are not going back to our old normal.
We must take a long term approach and be aware that recovery will be more of a marathon than a sprint and each effort made on this journey should be not be taken for granted.
For leaders to be effective they will need to see the disruptions the pandemic has wrought as opportunities for growth and collaboration.We cannot save the world on our own ,we need to work together as communities,countries,industries and ensure future generations learn from how we responded to this pandemic .