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The global economic outlook for 2021 is highly dependent both on the evolution of the pandemic and on the effectiveness of the recovery strategies of governments. In this unique context, the authors of this report aim to explore how countries can expand their focus beyond a return to growth and to consider how to “build back better.”
The report looks at priorities for economies across three timeframes: those of the last decade as revealed by time series data on factors of competitiveness, those that are critical for economic revival as revealed by the crisis and those that could help embed a transformation that may lead to better outcomes for productivity, shared prosperity and sustainability.
There have been unprecedented fiscal, monetary and regulatory policy measures that have provided households and businesses with emergency income and cashflow support, with governments deploying close to $12 trillion globally since the beginning of the global pandemic. As existing support measures begin to expire in several countries, it is paramount to set in place the structural reforms that can support economies as they transition onto a path of recovery. It may be tempting to consider the rebound in GDP that several economies are experiencing as lockdowns measures are lifted as a sign of a swiftly achievable recovery. Instead, the road towards economic recovery will be long, asymmetric and asynchronous across different economies, and can be proactively shaped and managed for optimal outcomes for productivity, people and the planet.