Co-creation of a new beginning...


At times like these, the resilience of governments and their institutions is being tested. Governments are continuously subject to increasing demands; for most, their responsibility for society has never been tested like this in living memory.

Worldwide, a demand shock is now emerging whilst economic output is substantially constrained. The impact on organisations, whether public or private, will have to be managed to preserve our global eco-business system. Disruption of this magnitude will leave a legacy.

Is it fair to have expected economic forecasting models to consider social distancing measures, confinement of populations for weeks (or months), the closure of national borders and other factors? None of this was foreseen and until recently, we did not have the vocabulary to describe most of it. Going forward, we may have to live with constant apprehension and concern for the risks facing us as individuals and as communities. Apprehension and risk are already impacting economies and businesses.

In these circumstances, the paramount objectives of governments must shift towards safeguarding lives and economies. What emerges from today’s world of uncertainty is that people, businesses and governments are interconnected and could therefore converge towards a common vision. We have an opportunity for all stakeholders to co-create a clear, ambitious shared vision of what the future could look like.

With businesses and the public sector working together, we could reduce uncertainty and bring back confidence. Through open discussions, a strategy could be developed that provides a clear pathway to implementing a shared vision. That strategy could take into account the cost of business ‘hibernation’ for periods of time and the possible impact on economies, the need for support to sustain the most vulnerable, consumer behaviour shifting towards necessities, the identification of talents and skills to help us overcome these challenges, infrastructure changes that will support new working practices, and technologies and innovations that could be better utilised to prevent a relapse.

Co-creating that common future vision will have its own challenges, not least the necessity of refining that vision as circumstances change. Ultimately its success will depend on the resilience, effort, and sacrifice we are willing to make to move forward.

The reality is that not all nations will emerge on a level playing field, just as they did not start on one. The finances of governments differ significantly and this needs to be managed. The costs to implement a shared vision could be huge and particularly burdensome for economies performing below optimum capacity. The ability of some governments to raise revenue through direct or indirect tax measures is constrained. In some cases, creditor support may need to be factored in to co-create and sustain the new vision.

"Governments need to articulate a clear plan for how the spectre of growing debt will be addressed to sustain confidence. Accountability and transparency throughout the development and delivery of the vision is also essential."

Governments that have better capacity to take on more debt to finance the co-vision will emerge stronger and more rapidly. But for the world as a whole to return to a ‘new normal’, we may need to forgive past debts whilst issuing new avenues for raising finance. Otherwise, an uneven global economic recovery could lead to even more uncertainty, vulnerability and inequality. Some short-term pain may be necessary to bring lasting gains for a common future.

The private sector has a critical role to play such as sharing knowledge and personnel to initiate and enable the shared vision and safeguarding employment in times of low demand for goods and services. Sharing of skills and resources and supporting employees and employers offers a chance to succeed and build a strong public-private partnership. From there, citizens will understand and trust the shared vision and support a more agile and responsive public sector.

Governments need to articulate a clear plan for how the spectre of growing debt will be addressed to sustain confidence. Accountability and transparency throughout the development and delivery of the vision is also essential. Citizens will be more forgiving in respect of unforeseen events if the public-private partnership has established and earned their trust and then, we will be well and truly on the path of co-creating a new beginning.

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Rajeev Basgeet

Partner, PwC Mauritius

T: +230 404 5000 E:

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