Image via Pixabay
Image via Pixabay
Global crises — regardless of whether it is the Aids epidemic, the spread of ebola or even the recent worldwide pandemic — whilst they leave devastation and disruptions in their wake, they also leave important lessons to be learned.
In the face of existential threats, leadership becomes very important. The country’s executive leadership needs to calm the citizens down by regularly communicating its understanding of the nature of the crisis, the measures it will take to minimise the risks the nation is exposed to, and their vision of the outcome of their engagement with the crisis.
The sense of community is paramount. It often develops when we are all faced with common danger. At a moment like this we need one another. The necessity for mutual support reminds all of us if we collaborate and join hands, it is easier to defeat our common enemy.
The role of government becomes very important. Not only must it exercise its regulatory responsibilities to protect citizens, it also becomes the last line of defence that the poor and the vulnerable have.
South Africa’s historical inequalities are an enduring legacy of apartheid and colonialism. Every major crisis exposes the huge number of poverty-stricken citizens affected. Whilst a variety of private-public partnerships can be pursued, it remains the responsibility of government to look after the poor and the vulnerable.
Crisis, especially when it has global ramifications, reminds us no single nation can afford to be isolated. We are all a part of the globalised world. Enabled by the internet and other technologies, all countries can learn from and support one another.
Multilateral institutions such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World and BRICS Banks, play a very important role. Their knowledge, research and advisory capacity, and even their financial resources need to be leveraged to secure the well being of any nation in crisis. For these reasons, they need be utilised and supported.
Crises change lives. This pandemic will have a lasting impact in the world of work as many people will now work from home. Big corporations will soon wonder why they have to acquire office buildings. There will be an unprecedented expansion of technology, and cities will soon be decongested and compel town planners to rethink their plans.
As they say — “We must not let a crisis be wasted”. We must learn from it.
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