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Covid-19 triggers “new world order” development-Economist

The unprecedented crisis ushered in by the coronavirus pandemic should prompt actors in the globalized world to lay the foundations for a “new world order,” said prominent Moroccan economist Fathallah Oualalou.By Hicham Alaoui

The world is trying to drag itself out of the mire stemming from the new coronavirus. 

Meanwhile, some analysts insist that from now on, nothing will be the same again. 

Post-Covid-19 therefore represents a murky horizon as the tiny virus continue to upset the balance of power in our global village.

“A new order implies not only change in the mode of global governance, but also and above all, the re-foundation and change to introduce new centers of interest: the preservation of life, better sharing of resources and the safeguarding of the environment,” Fathallah Oualalou said in a column entitled “Advanced Globalization and Unpredictability.”

In this reflection sent to APA, the former Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance defends the idea according to which, the exit from the current crisis constitutes “a moment of projection on the future to manage, in the short term, the consequences and, from there, build a new world.”

Considering the rate at which the virus spreads across the world, Africa is not the most affected continent. 

For Oualalou, Africa needs to assert itself when the chips are down again.

By presenting itself as an opportunity and not a handicap for a world undergoing change, this continent could, with Europe, form a new pole.

Oualalou opined that this implies beforehand certain trade-offs, with idealism but also with realism between the current issues and challenges. 

According to him, the global economy could rebound as early as 2021 provided that all countries succeed in their de-confinement.

Clearly, Oualalou, who is also a researcher at the renowned Policy Center for the New South (PCNS), pointed out that this crisis is unique in its kind since it is the product of the containment applied by many countries to stem the spread of the virus originating from Wuhan, China.

“Unlike the 2008 crisis, the current one was born neither from an imbalance in supply (no overproduction) nor from the collapse in demand. In addition, the situation of the banks is much healthier today and the key interest rates are at a particularly low level,” he added.

The academic recalled that the economic crisis of the previous decade “revealed the drifts of globalization by the excessive ‘financialisation’ of economic activities and the accentuation of social inequalities produced by the supremacy of neo-liberalism.”

All in all, Mr. Oualalou stressed that the world now needs “real composure, a new order, new consistency and a re-foundation, in terms of mode of governance and centers of interest.”

However, he argued, this paradigm shift can only take place if “all parties recognize that the world of tomorrow must become multipolar…its functioning must take into account the contribution of all countries, all major cultures and all civilizations.”

According to the author of the book “China and Us,” if we build on the ideals of “sharing, solidarity and balance,” the new world will be rid of inequalities and injustices to be able to “anticipate and master the unexpected.”

In addition, the former Moroccan minister said that “within two decades, the first two of the 21st century, the reign of the unpredictable has taken hold, revealing the fragility of our world, which is globalized and incapable of anticipation.”

He indicated that the evolution of the balance of power on our planet will certainly allow the Asian pole to improve its position. 

At the end of this unprecedented crisis, warned Fathallah Oualalou, the countries that have demonstrated great consistency in the management of the pandemic, will take a lead in building the world of the future.

Looking at the African case, he said the post-Covid-19 period will pose a debt problem in the short term. 

Mr. Oualalou is convinced that its resolution inevitably requires consultations with Western and Chinese suppliers of external funding. 

The G20 recommended the suspension of the debt service reimbursement, but for only one year, he said.

In his opinion in the medium term, Africa must also improve its performance in the agricultural sector, expand its domestic markets, launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), promote electrification and make great progress in the field of training.

He said all this cannot be done without a leap forward in African countries political governance, adding that the major challenge is to diversify the productive fabrics in all regions of the continent with the aim of having a better positioning in global value chains.

In the context of future multi-polarity, a regionalization approach with neighboring Europe is to be explored because the Mediterranean is a natural link”, he added.

Morocco, which belongs to this Afro-Euro-Mediterranean area, will certainly have to be active, Mr. Oualalou pointed out.

Published on 10.02.2021

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