By: Alsir Sidahmed
It looks like the Corona virus will have its prints in today’s life, institutions and trigger change all over to the extent that the acronym BC and AC will likely have a new meaning: Before Corona (BC) and After Corona (AC).
In fact the world is in a mood for change for quite some time. The mentality and institutions that have been running the world so far were the product of the industrial revolution and day by day they became less able to meet the challenges of the third revolution that is of communications. The multilateral bodies like the United Nations, the NATO, the European Union, the World Bank, the IMF and others are getting out of touch with the actual purposes that justify their existence in the first place.
Last November the French President Emmanuel Macron did not mince his words telling the Economist magazine in an interview that the EU has progressively lost its political purpose and that trend has been going since the 1990s.
That was a BC phenomenon. Before Corona and the disease came to accelerate and show how such institutions became inept with their failure to stand up to the virus challenge inside its borders. By leaving Italy and Spain to their destinies more than half a century of joint effort to create a single European entity came to halt.
The AC period that the world is currently going through started with highlighting the cracks in today’s socio, politico and economic set up.
It was interesting to note that the initial reaction to the virus was nationalistic and populist where countries opted to close their borders not only from refugees and those fleeing desperation back home, but from fellow Europeans, where people used to move around freely in the union’s 28 countries.
This could be seen as a culmination of the anti-globalization that has been surging for some time, but the irony is that the virus does not recognize borders. Simply put a universal threat requires a universal response. To complicate things more that threat is not military, but relates to health and needs investments, research and international outreach to make a difference in fighting the disease that is threatening to bring the whole world to a complete halt.
Moreover, in the AC era that is being formulated the idea of giving an upper hand to the private initiatives at the expense of the government and public institutions is being questioned. Back in the 1980s the Reagan-Thatcher alliance across the Atlantic managed to push for privatization for the top of the agenda and reduce the role of public sector in running the economy leaving more room to private businesses to take the lead. That new doctrine pushed its way around the world.
Then came the Corona virus where even developed countries led by the United States and Europe discovered that privatization in the health sector is not qualified to deliver in a time of crises, a situation that requires a review and more engagement of the government.
The ad hoc virtual meeting of the G-20 was an attempt to coordinate an international response. Though it has been announced that $5 trillion has been earmarked to finance efforts in fighting the Corona virus, but in effect it was each country looking after its own affairs and providing stimulus package for their own economies. It remains to be seen whether developing countries can get some slice out of this pledge.
Sudan is one of those vulnerable countries already struggling to extricate itself out of the messy economic situation it inherited from the Ingaz regime and is now faced like others with the challenge of how to deal with the Corona virus.
That is yet an additional complication that requires making a serious review of the way the country is taking. It is no longer feasible to expect a flow of external aid at the time every country is engrossed in its domestic affairs and very little time, if ever, for others’ problems.
This is a time to turn a problem into an opportunity by focussing more on domestic affairs on various issues to create a united front and a conducive environment politically and economically able to push relevant issues of enhancing its ability to tap the country’s natural resources for the sake of its people.
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