Post Covid 19 World Demands New Approaches from Government and Private Sector
The Adrian Loveridge Column usually occupies this space on Monday mornings. The blogmaster takes this opportunity to thank Adrian for being a strident social commentator over the years and willingness to enter the BU fray, especially as it relates to promoting and defending the tourism sector he is very familiar. The BU household extends best wishes as he takes a voluntary timeout to ‘recharge’ – David, blogmaster
The market certainly doesn’t know! The massive public financing in many places is nothing more than a band-aid, it is when that dressing is removed, we will see who has healed and can function, and who needs an amputation or worse. For Barbados, the acid test will be employment.NorthernObserver
The raging COVID 19 pandemic has hammered home a reality- individuals, organizations, governments are being forced to change business model. Specifically as it relates to E-commerce and doing business in a digital space. The new way of doing business demands a reskilling and redeployment of the workforce that must be equally supported with reallocation of budgets. In a January report prepared by Hyun Song Shin titled E-commerce in the pandemic and beyond 3-takeaways are identified:
- E-commerce has ramped up during the pandemic around the world. The growth has differed across sectors and over different stages of the pandemic.
- The growth of e-commerce has been higher in countries where there were more stringent containment measures and where e-commerce was initially less developed.
- Some changes in consumers’ shopping habits and payment behaviour may be longer-lasting. This may have implications for structural change and the growth of the digital economy.
There has been robust discussion in this forum recently about how we foresee business being done in Barbados. The blogmaster sides with the argument supported in the report mentioned that even before the pandemic wrecked global economies and livelihoods, there was a push to shift business and other activity from bricks-and-mortar to the digital space. Covid 19 has accelerated the shift. Welcome to a view of what a post COVID 19 landscape will look like whether we like it or not.
Another forecast coming out of the pandemic is that people will have to coexist with COVID 19 AND other viruses likely to follow. It means in the future traditional supply chains and business related travel will be disrupted. Individuals, businesses and governments are already adjusting to a post COVID 19 reality with greater use of the digital space defined as the new normal.
As expected some countries start with an advantage in the new normal space- the so-called developed world. Barbados unfortunately has been lazy to rely on manual, redundant models not fit for purpose exposed in the current environment. Our private sector is not far behind if we accept reports of disruption to large companies being attacked by ransomware, supermarkets and essential businesses unable to efficiently manage spikes in demand for services and distribution during lockdowns and so on.
What is required is a nimble approach by public and private sectors supported by NGOs to strategise next steps how as a country we narrow the gap between existing and the new business model to sustains livelihoods in a post COVID 19 world. In fact the blogmaster will be disappointed if after a year of managing the pandemic this is not a work in progress.
The blogmaster is sympathetic to the current leadership of the country demanded to manage in unprecedented times. Let the blogmaster be clear, leadership is defined as government and private sector. For too long Barbados has relied on government to lead in all areas of managing the country.
The big question: what is the strategy to reposition Barbados to be able to compete in a post COVID world?