The Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) – the first research and teaching institution focusing on governance and public policy in the Arab world – held two remote sessions exploring the post-COVID-19 economy, as well as health policies during and after epidemics.
The talks were part a series of live Instagram sessions highlighting both the challenges and opportunities brought about by the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The livestreaming started on Monday, April 13, 2020, on MBRSG’s official Instagram account: @MBRSGAE. It is set to continue broadcasting every Monday and Wednesday from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm until April 29, 2020.
The first session, titled ‘The Economy After the Corona Crisis’, was presented by Dr Abdullah Al-Awadhi, lecturer and trainer at MBRSG, on April 20. Dr Al-Awadhi asserted that the Coronavirus outbreak has had many negative economic repercussions affecting most commercial and business sectors. Nonetheless, the current situation is only temporary, he noted, explaining that crises typically go through several stages, from latency to birth, then escalation and explosion, and finally, they begin to decline in the maturity stages until they dissipate.
Al-Awadhi highlighted the sectors most affected by the outbreak, citing aviation, travel and tourism, hotels, hospitality, conferences, export, logistical services, and trade. The current situation has created a lack of economic certainty, he said.
There are, however, great opportunities to benefit from in various economic sectors once the recovery phase begins, he added, revealing that there are many promising sectors that are expected to achieve significant growth after the crisis has ended, such as pharmacies, sterilizers, e-commerce, remote work, remote education, and smart applications.
Dr Al-Awadhi also went on to note that the world has allocated enormous budgets, amounting to USD7.3 trillion, to soften the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The economy is expected to pick up by the end of 2020, as soon as social distancing measures are eased, while monetary and financial stimulus packages are introduced and with discretionary spending continues. Businesses will begin to recover during the first quarter of 2021, Al-Awadi predicted, estimating that the world economy will grow at an annual rate of 5.3%, while the overall yearly average for 2021 stands at 4.4%.
In order to achieve this growth, Al-Awadi provided a set of tips and advice to the business in order to overcome the current period, including reducing expenditures, preparing the work team for productivity more than ever, increasing and accelerating financial flows, collecting all or most of the dues, adopting decentralization in decision-making, invest in technology in order to rely on it in the application of business, and invest in advertising in order to stay in the circle of competition.
The second session was titled ‘Health Policies During and After Epidemics’ and delivered on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, by Dr Immanuel Azaad Moonesar, Assistant Professor in Health Policy at MBRSG. Dr Moonesar explained the various types of health policies that affect everyone, outlining the difference between the policies concerned with health service providers and the ones targeting the public consuming these services.
Dr Moonesar highlighted the direct impact the current situation has on health policies, noting the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic and the implications this has on policy and decision makers. There are three factors that affect the health landscape and infrastructure during the epidemics, he explained; these are preparedness, which is based on existing (pre-epidemic) policies and regulations; response, which is how to deal with these epidemics during the outbreak; and recovery, which are post-epidemic policies and lessons learned.
The expert speaker went on to explain each factor in detail, stating that in the pre-epidemic phase, crisis management committees should be formed to cope with any possible escalation and its impact on all sectors. These procedures offer a holistic vision of the health sector’s preparedness can be formed, making it easier to identify the requirements for dealing with any outbreaks. As for the response phase, there are measures that help contain outbreaks and health policies have a tremendous impact on these measures. Policymakers must remain informed of all developments, outline and implement plans and precautionary measures, and prevent the spread of panic in the community to ensure safety and security, make sure people have sufficient supplies of food, and promote good morale and mental health.
Finally, Dr Moonesar discussed post-epidemic policies that help ensure the agility and resilience of various sectors, emphasising the importance of documenting and studying these experiences to overcome such outbreaks more easily in the future. He lauded the effectiveness of the UAE’s response, which allowed the country to rank among the top ten nations in the world in terms of effectiveness in the fight against COVID-19, pointing to the UAE’s policies as the foundation for such an achievement.
The live Instagram series is set to continue with two more lectures, the first titled ‘Post-Corona Governments’ and featured by Prof. Raed Awamleh, Dean of MBRSG, on April 27, and another focusing on ‘Organisational Structures and Their Role in Institutional Adjustment’, led by Dr Yousif El-Ghalayini, Assistant Professor in Public Administration at MBRSG, on April 29, 2020.