Highlights & updates


Martina Szabo

Update on the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs

Vulnerable populations and communities are among the worst affected by the COVID-19 crisis - with the pandemic only severely hitting emerging markets now. Social entrepreneurs are not only critical to protecting the most vulnerable. They also play an instrumental role in forging a reset of our world and in building an economic system that serves the many.

The World Economic Forum's COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs brings together 52 leading ecosystem organizations, who together currently support more than 17,500 social entrepreneurs helping vulnerable people in over 190 countries. On Wednesday 15 July, Alliance members convened to discuss a shared action agenda in support of social entrepreneurs across the world - the exact details of this agenda will be published in the next few weeks.

Alliance members from Catalyst 2030 also presented their new publication: Getting from crisis to systems change: advice for leaders in the time of COVID.

Key Recommendations from this publication include:

1. World leaders must commit to systems change.

2. Social entrepreneurs should have a seat at the decision-making table.

3. Governments and other major institutions should create high level one-stop points of contact for social entrepreneurs.-

4. Governments, companies, philanthropists and others must transform how they finance the ideas of social entrepreneurs.

Lastly, members from IIX presented their digital suite of platforms and services that allow business to get a better sense of their resilience and to receive practical tips on weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image: IIX Global

Learn more about the Social Entrepreneurs' Alliance here.

New report: Latin American Perspectives on Manufacturing Resilience in the COVID-19 context

The World Economic Forum has aimed to increase the potential for global and regional public-private action amid the COVID-19 crisis. As part of this effort, the Regional Action Group for Latin America, a platform to exchange key global and regional insights and experiences between the foremost government and public and private sector leaders, convened to discuss the industry implications, responses and collaboration to build resilience on manufacturing and supply systems in Latin America. This executive report builds on the Regional Action Group’s insights and on the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production activities.

The long-ranging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be understood. However, in discussions with senior executives, the following five consistent imperatives emerged that leaders need to consider in order to prepare for long-term business success:

Regional insight: Building Resilience in Manufacturing and Supply Systems in the COVID-19 context and beyond: Latin America Perspectives
Image: World Economic Forum

Check out the full report here.

WHO update on COVID-19 in Africa

Since mid-April, the Forum has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to organize a series of on-the-record media briefings on the impact of COVID-19 in Africa.

As the number of cases on the African continent has surpassed 640,000, speakers this week noted the difficulties of maintaining social distancing measures when amenities such as supermarkets are uncommon. Information was also shared about the Ebola outbreak in Western DRC, which has now reached 56 cases and is putting more pressure on local healthcare infrastructure.

Speakers at this briefing with the WHO Regional Office for Africa included:

  • Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization
  • Pierre Somse, Minister of Health and Population, Central Africa Republic
  • Patrick Youssef, Regional Director, Africa, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Adhieu Achuil Dhieu Kueth, South Sudanese refugee from Dadaab living in Kenya

For more information about how the Forum's COVID Action Platform is supporting the COVID-19 response in African countries, check out the following projects and initiatives:

COVID and Ageing Society dialogues: Ageism in the time of coronavirus

The World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Longevity, in collaboration with AARP and the National Academy of Medicine, has kicked-off a five-part dialogue series about COVID-19 and ageing societies. Five webinars during June and July will bring together experts from government, academia, civil society, foundations and the private sector to consider key issues faced by older adults, and highlight opportunities for action on ageing and health.

COVID-19 and Ageing Society: Part Three

Global populations are benefiting from increased longevity, presenting new opportunities to capture unique skillsets, social capital, knowledge and experiences that older adults can offer to restart economies. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of not only living longer, but living in good health. Governments and industries are urged to better understand the opportunities and challenges of older adults in this pandemic and harness this potential to contribute as we restart economies.

Alexandre Kalache, President ILC International Longevity Centre-Brazil
Image: World Economic Forum

This third panel was moderated by Jane M Barratt, Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and Adrienne Mendenhall, Director of Business Development, ACCESS Health International. Alana Officer, Senior Health Adviser, Ageing and Life Course, World Health Organization (WHO) gave the keynote address. Panellists included:

  • David E. Bloom, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economic and Demography, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Mike Mansfield, Program Director, Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, Aegon
  • Prakash Tyagi, Executive Director, GRAVIS, Founder-Director GRAVIS Hospital and Clinical Professor, Global Health, University of Washington
  • Peggy Hicks, Director, Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures, and Right to Development Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Alexandre Kalache, President ILC International Longevity Centre-Brazil
  • Andrew J Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School
Image: Mike Mansfield, Program Director, Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement

Key takeaways from the webinar included:

  • Ageing ultimately affects everyone, we all age without exception.
  • Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination based on age. The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled just how prevalent ageism is in our society.
  • Older persons are diverse and have several different identities beyond their age. The assumption that older persons are frail or dependent is not only inaccurate but also harmful.
  • Older persons are an essential element of societies and their contributions are a significant component of the economy in the usual sense of paid work and more importantly, less visible unpaid work, especially caregiving and volunteer work. For example, older persons who provide care for their grandchildren often contribute to the knowledge, skills and socialization of these children and allow their parents to work and contribute to the economy. Undervaluing the economic contributions of older adults is a form of ageism.
  • We can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy population. COVID-19 has shown us the importance of keeping people healthy and preventing disease at the individual and community level; this is crucial for people and economies.
  • An instrument to protect the rights of older persons is important to explore, especially if we are to keep learning from each other and advancing together.
  • Older persons bring enormous experience and expertise that we cannot afford to ignore. As countries recover from the pandemic, older persons will likely continue to face different forms of ageism. However, we have an opportunity to set the stage for more inclusive, equitable and age-friendly societies that recognize the value of older persons. In an ideal world, we would like to see an allocation of resources where no one is left behind.

COVID-19: The Great Reset

Tune in at 14:00 CET on Tuesday 14 July to join in a virtual briefing about the new book by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret: "COVID-19: The Great Reset."

Read the full article

Survey Launch: The Global COVID-19 Fintech Market Rapid Assessment

In collaboration with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge and the World Bank Group, the Forum has launched a survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on fintech markets, the response of the global fintech industry to the pandemic, and immediate regulatory and policy implications as a result of economic volatility.

Through conducting an online survey of fintechs, the goal of the initiative is to rapidly assess the performance of the global fintech market and ascertain what kind of regulatory and policy responses might be most appropriate across different fintech market segments and geographical markets. In doing so, the group will work with more than 150 global fintech associations and ecosystem partners and disseminate the survey to over 15,000 fintech firms in 190 jurisdictions.

The survey will collect globally comparable empirical data to inform evidence-based regulation, policies and business decision-making in a timely fashion. All survey data collected will be anonymized and aggregated before analysis and presentation.

Based on the findings, the collaboration will jointly publish a report in September 2020. In turn, fintech industries and digital financial services (DFS) providers can better position themselves not only to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 but also to identify opportunities to scale and expand, as the digitalization of financial services is likely to become increasingly more important in a post-COVID world.

Insights on ramping up operations and business activity in manufacturing

The World Economic Forum's Advanced Manufacturing Action Group, which brings together leading voices in the advanced manufacturing space, has been exploring how companies can best navigate the COVID-19 crisis, resume operations and business activity and prepare for the “new normal”.

Report cover: Briefing Paper: Ramping up operations and business activity post-COVID-19
Image: World Economic Forum

Resuming Operations

In the first briefing paper of this series, the team gathered key perspectives on how companies can return to work and resume operations and business activity, focused on best practices to return to work as quickly as possible, while ensuring employee safety and preventing new infections.

Maintaining focus on the “resume operations” topic, a second briefing paper has been released to dive deeper into best practices and solutions that can help organizations ensure a successful ramp-up of production and business activity.

The paper shares examples of how companies are working across the value chain to accelerate manufacturing and economic activity, look for opportunities to grow, and find ways to become more agile.

Going forward, the Action Group will continue engaging with key stakeholders in the broader production system to identify collaborative actions to accelerate the ramp-up of operations and business activity post-pandemic, and shape new practices and build new partnerships that will create shared value for businesses, society and the environment.

Read more about the ongoing initiatives of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production here.

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