Majority of global public thinks economic recovery to take time; Indians 3rd most optimistic: WEF study

An average of three in four adults believe it will take at least two more years for their country’s economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and that businesses and governments are expected to share this responsibility, even as Indians are the third most optimistic lot after their counterparts from China and Saudi Arabia, a study showed on Thursday. The findings from the latest World Economic Forum/Ipsos market survey of almost 22,000 people across 29 countries also revealed that only 7 per cent globally believe that their country’s economy has already recovered, with this view being the most widely held in China (56 per cent).

The comparable figure for Saudi Arabia was 25 per cent and 11 per cent for India.

Quoting the study, the WEF said in a statement that the responsibility to lead this economic recovery falls to both governments and businesses, but civil society plays a crucial role and must not be left behind.

While China topped the optimism chart with as many as 83 per cent of respondents there saying their economy has either already recovered or will recover within one year, it was followed by 63 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 38 per cent in India and the US each.

Among Indian respondents, 38 per cent said the recovery will take 2-3 years, while 24 per cent expect it to take even longer, according to the survey.

Globally, 39 per cent believe it will take their economy more than three years to recover from the pandemic, with those in Russia (66 per cent) and South Africa (62 per cent) most likely to hold this view.

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Sarita Nayyar, Managing Director, World Economic Forum, said, “The world is at a global turning point where leaders must cooperate, innovate and secure a robust recovery. COVID-19 has been a litmus test for stakeholder capitalism. Those that focused on the short-term have been the first to suffer.”

She further said corporations have a responsibility to work with governments and civil society to address the big global challenges while protecting public health and growth.

The survey further showed that on average, there are high expectations for both government and businesses to lead the economy recovery, but civil society or NGOs are at the bottom of the table.

Globally, 53 per cent of respondents said it is the government’s responsibility while 52 per cent chose large or multinational businesses.

David Sangokoya, Head of Civil Society and Social Justice at the WEF, said, “In addition to fostering social cohesion, advocating for human rights and providing community assistance, civil society plays a crucial role in promoting a sustainable and equitable recovery and creating an enabling environment in collaboration with business and government.”

He further said as the world faces three critical crises in the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and systemic inequalities, the inclusion of civil society in the world’s efforts is necessary to ensure transparency, accountability and impact for communities bearing the brunt of these crises.

According to the survey, jobs, new businesses opening and increase tourism are the top three signs of economic recovery, followed by infrastructure and social changes.



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