It is now clear that COVID-19 has presented the global economy with an unprecedented challenge. In the United States and Europe, efforts to control the virus through lockdowns are likely to lead to the largest decline in economic activity since the Great Depression in the US and Europe.1 And while safeguarding human lives is imperative, the toll on human livelihoods will also undoubtedly be significant, according to an article from McKinsey.
It’s important to remember that this, above all, is a humanitarian challenge. Asia is home to 60 percent of the world’s population—and to around 35 percent of the world’s poorest people, according to 2019 World Bank data.4 Pandemics hit the most vulnerable hardest. Asia’s emerging areas, particularly India and the nations of Southeast Asia, face unprecedented risks.
Yet as a region, Asia has come through crises before and emerged stronger from them. We have reason to believe it can do so again. In a postpandemic world, can Asia’s nations and companies play a major role in defining the next normal?
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