|It may be difficult to think of now, but the lockdown and pandemic will end. / Photo by Petia_is via Shutterstock|
It may be difficult to think of now, but the lockdown and pandemic will end. There will come a time when the figures show that it is already safe to go out, leave their masks behind, return to the streets, re-establish their old routines, and eventually restart the economy. However, not all countries will bounce back the same as others. Some countries are more resilient than others and have a high likelihood of being stable after the crisis.
The 2019 Global Resilience Index of American mutual insurance company FM Global ranked the resiliency of business environments of a total of 130 countries. They based their Resilience Index on several factors, such as corporate governance, supply chain logistics, transparency, risk environment, and political stability. Then, the BBC team paired these ranks with their initial response to the Covid-19 outbreak to determine which nations in the world have a high possibility of bouncing back best after the crisis.
Denmark ranked first as the country that will bounce back best after the pandemic. Although Denmark is ranked second as the most resilient country after Norway, it has a high score in supply chain tracking and it also has a low score on governmental corruption. Denmark also acted quickly upon recording its first Covid-19 case and implemented social distancing measures sooner. It shut down non-essential private businesses and schools on March 11 and likewise closed its borders to tourists on March 14 when there were only a few positive cases. Their efforts have proven to be effective.
Even regular flu cases in Denmark dropped by about 70% compared to the same period in 2019, which is seen as a good indicator of the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the government. Copenhagen-based tour operator Pissup Tours’ managing partner Rasmus Aarup Christiansen commented that he was skeptical of the idea in the beginning but seeing the result, it appears like the government was “doing the right thing.”
It is a part of Danish culture to stand together for a shared cause and to trust their authority and it is this very culture that is believed to have an impact on the effectiveness of the country’s measures. Most people in the country consider it a moral duty to make sacrifices to prioritize public health and no one wanted to endanger the lives of their senior citizens simply because they cannot give up their luxuries. This does not mean that Denmark did not face challenges. Christiansen himself said that he experienced a decline in revenue in his travel business.
Singapore is not among the top 10 most resilient countries on the 2019 Global Resilience Index but it has a high score (top 21) compared to other nations. Factors that contributed to it are its strong infrastructure, low political risks, strong economy, and low corruption scores.
The country’s corruption perception index in 2012 was at 87.00, 2013 (86.00), 2014 (84.00), 2015 (85.00), 2016 (84.00), 2017 (84.00), and 2018 (85.00). Scores are on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means that the country is perceived as highly corrupt, according to scientific online publication Our World in Data.
Singapore also responded fast to contain the spread of the virus and now has one of the flattest curves of Covid-19.
Constance Tan from data analysis company Konigle said that citizens in Singapore have “tremendous” trust in their government, who are also relatively transparent of every step they do to fight the pandemic. Although there are still people who ignore the rules and the country has taken away the work passes and passports of people who violated their law, they still work together in general. The country also doesn’t worry about having social unrest, economic destabilization, or people losing their lives on the streets. So that Singapore will experience the most successful economic rebound, it similarly depends on the recovery of other nations. Many firms, including Konigle, have implemented remote working policies for their workers too. The Singaporean government has also introduced the TraceTogether app to conduct contact tracing in their country.
|The US government acted quickly to pass its economic stimulus measures to stabilize the country. / Photo by No-Mad via Shutterstock|
#3. United States
The resilience index of the US is divided into East, Central, and West regions. However, as a whole, these US regions rank 22nd, 11th, and 9th, respectively. Containing the spread of the Covid-19 in the country has been challenging, particularly in big metropolitan areas, such as New York. The unemployment rate has also increased because of the mandatory lockdowns in the country. The restrictions have particularly affected retail workers, restaurants, and other businesses that are dependent on foot traffic.
Nevertheless, the US government acted quickly to pass its economic stimulus measures to stabilize the country. They have also enacted social distancing measures, which help lessen the overall impact. Financial firms, including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, are expecting a V-shaped recession. This means that the economy suffers a sharp but a brief period of economic decline and then it will be followed by a strong recovery.
The US plays an important role in the global economy as it represents about a quarter of the world’s GDP. Economic forecasts and trading recommendations platform Trading Economics published that the US economy grew 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019.
University of Notre Dame’s professor of economics Eric Sims also told BBC that the US economy is, generally speaking, in a better position to recover from the possible long-run shifts and large economic shocks than the rest of the countries. Their population is on average young and with more mobility than other nations and they also have lighter labor market restrictions. Thus, it can enable greater labor reallocation.
The Republic of Rwanda is also in a better position to bounce back its economy after the pandemic. It has had the biggest leaps in its index in the past few years, attributed to the improvements made in corporate governance. It is ranked 72nd most resilient country in the world. Rwanda has likewise learned lessons in containing Ebola after the 2019 outbreak happened in its neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. The country has also utilized drones to deliver medical supplies and implemented thermometer checks right at its borders. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is the first country to implement a total lockdown.
Based on the FM Global Resilience Index, Rwanda’s overall economic rank is 55, productivity 0.8, risk quality 117, and supply chain 66. The top 10 most resilient countries, considering the economic, risk quality, and supply chain scores are Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Austria, United States Central, and the United Kingdom.
The pandemic has created a significant challenge for different countries. Other nations can assess the experience of these four nations and determine lessons that they can apply to come out stronger post-pandemic.