Photo credit unsplash/Timon Studler

Governance and state capacity

Countries where governments are both capable and legitimate in the eyes of their citizens have enjoyed a huge advantage in crafting an effective policy response. The reminder that even in advanced nations citizens remain exposed to unforeseen shocks will strengthen the demand for preparedness to such shocks and for social insurance. At the same time, in many countries the erratic response to the virus may have further undermined the trust placed in government and the ability of the state to deliver greater public goods and that may in turn convert a short term crisis into a long term decline.

Meanwhile, the pandemic challenge not only requires a policy response at the national level, but also a coordinated response at the global level that has been lacking so far. Even the WHO remains underfunded, while attempts to mobilise large-scale resources to help poor countries fight the virus have met with limited success. Post COVID-19, citizens need better governance, both nationally and internationally. But this is happening at a time when trust in governments is challenged and when countries are turning away from existing systems of international governance. Ensuring preparedness and resilience to future shocks and building state capacity to promote inclusive growth constitute some of the most significant challenges to shaping the post-COVID world.