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Experts see regionalism dividing post-pandemic world

Warn of disproportionate impact of novel coronavirus

News Desk April 21, 2020
With the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic infecting over two million people worldwide, the virus is having an impact more than just on those infected but also the global economy and how states relate with each other and their own people and a new paradigm can emerge once the virus is overcome.

This was discussed by participants of an online webinar to deliberate on the political, economic and social impacts of Covid-19. The webinar was organised by the China-Pakistan Study Centre of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with Mishal Pakistan and AGAHI. The session was moderated by China-Pakistan Study Centre Director Dr Talat Shabbir.

Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the director-general of ISSI, said that Covid-19 has brought changes in the pattern of globalization.

The pandemic has also brought into consideration how to use modern technology in a more efficient way to communicate and connect.

“Regionalism could become more popular, offering new opportunities,” the former ambassador said, adding “the responsibility to combat the Covid-19 situation cannot just be put on the government alone, the private sector, civil society, media and other institutions should work together to lessen the suffering and anguish of the people.”

Amir Jahangir, the chief executive officer of Mishal Pakistan, said, “Covid-19 has confined societies in a forced incubation. Pushing societies to embrace digital transformation, enabling people to adopt the ‘new’ normal. Transforming societies to adopt new social and economic outlook for the future”.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Board of Investment and Trade CEO Hasan Daud Butt said that Covid-19 has brought about a paradigm shift. He added that it will push the government to enhance spending on technology.

He further briefed the participants that the “impact on Pakistan economy is dependent on the measures taken by the government to stop Covid-19 from spreading.”

“The Asian Development Bank has stated in its report said that the virus outbreak could cost the Pakistani economy around $5 billion, or 0.01% to 1.57% of its GDP. The report also highlighted that this loss will plunge Pakistan's GDP by at least 1.57% and trigger 946,000 job losses”.

AGAHI President Puruesh Chaudhary stated “Early signs show that the well-being and financial effects of the infection are being borne lopsidedly by unprivileged. Individuals and senior citizens, without access to necessities and immunities, might be the first line of causality of the society.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2020.


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