A message of solidarity during the COVID-19 crisis from CIPE Executive Director Andrew Wilson.
It would be easy, at a time like this, to lose hope: not only are families around the world struggling with a devastating public health crisis, but they also face the sobering prospect of coping for years to come with the repercussions of the massive economic downturn wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs around the world, CIPE’s traditional partners and beneficiaries, are among the hardest hit in this crisis.
CIPE is actively using everything in our toolkit to help local partners weather this catastrophe. In turn, we continue to be inspired by the resilience our partners display. For example, a partner in Lebanon has proposed several measures to the government to ensure transparency in crisis management. In Kenya, a CIPE partner has set up a digital engagement portal to share information on the pandemic’s impact on the business community. Together, we are confronting head-on the economic and social challenges posed by COVID-19 and developing strategies across the globe to overcome them.
We are acutely aware that autocrats are likely to exploit this crisis to enact draconian controls under the guise of safety measures. Disinformation campaigns, or “pandemic propaganda,” are being leveraged to close vulnerable societies. However, history has shown time and again that countries that build and sustain democratic governance and support a free and thriving business environment are better equipped to weather crises of this magnitude. We believe that effective public-private cooperation to this end will prove crucial to economic recovery, and we are ramping up our rapid-response initiatives to combat corruption. CIPE’s experience as an advocate for business-led solutions in emerging economies places us in a unique position to be on the frontlines of response efforts, both immediate and long-term.
At CIPE, we remain hopeful not only that entrepreneurs the world over will pull through this crisis, but that they will emerge on the other side with creative and innovative new solutions. We stand ready to help them tap their potential as key actors in efforts to gain back lost ground and move forward with a newfound boldness. In the coming weeks, I look forward to sending updates highlighting the extraordinary work our staff is carrying out with local partners.