The global recovery following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will come through the three broad lenses of sustainability, resilience, and inclusivity, recent World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings have concluded.
While the pandemic led to unprecedented global health and economic challenges, the recovery process will see every country seek efficient and sustainable economic frameworks to establish a green and inclusive global economic system.
The Annual Spring Meetings, which run from 5-11 April, noted that the recovery is also commensurate with: international partnerships; multilateral and bilateral cooperation; and private sector engagement.
Speaking at the opening session, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said, “Resilience, agility, and innovation are the keywords for surviving turbulences caused by global challenges.”
The minister’s remarks came during the panel titled “Economic Recovery: Towards a Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Future”.
The Annual Spring Meetings included: opening remarks by World Bank President David Malpass; interventions from the US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva: and was also attended by the Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates.
The discussion with Minister Al-Mashat tackled the needs and requirements to support a faster and deeper economic recovery, and laying a foundation for a more sustainable and inclusive global economic system.
Also present were Ajaita Shah, Founder and CEO of Frontier Markets, and Chief Executive for Africa Regions at the Standard Bank Group, Sola David Borha. It was moderated by the North America Correspondent for the BBC, Larry Madowo.
The panellists looked into several topics, including policy reforms to support economic recovery, inclusivity, and the impact of digital technology in economic growth and in increasing job opportunities. It also included private sector voices from large and small firms on the global level.
Minister Al-Mashat explained that the key ingredients to foster a culture of innovation are through people, processes, and technology.
As innovation is a critical aspect of resilience, Egypt is putting the country’s digital plans at the forefront of the development framework across all sectors, starting with education.
Under Egypt’s “Education 2.0” initiative, in collaboration with the World Bank, the Ministries of International Cooperation, and Education and Technical Education, are raising a resilient and tech savvy generation.
The initiative aims to make this generation able to provide the Egyptian market with a new tier of employees for the digital future, and ready to take on the “jobs of tomorrow”.
Minister Al-Mashat expressed that digital reskilling is a necessary policy discussion for all governments to have with the private sector and its development partners.
“Before the pandemic, the discussion revolved around whether technology can change the future of jobs but today, we see that technology can strengthen the economy through innovation and startups,” she said.
Shah added, “When thinking about the power of data, technology is a tool that bridges the knowledge gap in a new way, and it helps us better prepare for crises and to co-create and respond differently with innovation.”
Minister Al-Mashat elaborated that the pandemic re-emphasised that social inclusion, health, and education are all priorities, alongside the fact that no one is alone at times of global crises.
“The ‘leave no one behind’ framework only works if we all collaborate collectively at all stages,” the minister said.
She added that, through global partnerships and public-private dialogue, all stakeholders need to work collectively to weather challenges and push towards the sustainability targets.
“The year 2021 is about both private sector engagement and green reform. Environmentally conscious investments are finding their way into the spotlight, which pushes for a green recovery on a global and national level,” Minister Al-Mashat said, “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles are now the rules that all governments and companies must follow.”