In collaboration with industry experts from the International Chambers of Commerce, the World Economic Forum and the World Wide Web Foundation, Dun & Bradstreet hosted a webinar explaining the impact of the pandemic on global markets and economies; both now and in future. This report highlights some of the key learning outcomes from the event.

Webinar report: How to maintain business momentum in a pandemic

By analysing similar events in history – such as the Spanish Influenza, World War II, and recent recessions – it’s clear that the challenge we face now is unprecedented, but that businesses will find ways to survive, and in some cases thrive, as they have in the past.

Business information company Dun & Bradstreet shared commentary from industry experts on maintaining business momentum in a pandemic. Key take-aways from the webinar include:

• The macroeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be immense, and companies will face higher credit risks in the remainder of 2020 and 2021. The economy need to be prepared for a growing number of business liquidations.

• As a result of urbanisation, climate change and deforestation, there are now 200 pandemics each year. While we are much better at dealing with the impact from a health standpoint, the UK is much less prepared from a socio-economic perspective.

• Granting more people access to the internet will be key to overcoming the fall out of the pandemic and ensuring society is kept abreast of the most up-to-date health and business information.

Markus Kuger, Chief Economist at Dun & Bradstreet, said: “Despite recovery in April, our analysis shows global markets are still significantly below January values and are experiencing vulnerability that has never been seen before, even during the 2008/9 financial crisis”.

“Dun & Bradstreet have revised our growth projections downwards following a significant rise in political, economic and supply chain risk. We’ve downgraded 70 country risk ratings and moved many, including the UK, to an all-time low.”

Ryan Morhard, Lead, Global Health Security, COVID Action Platform, World Economic Forum, said:“This unprecedented crisis demands unprecedented cooperation. Public and private cooperation is essential to respond to COVID-19, including across areas such as health, data, supply chains and more. The actions of any organization acting alone will unfortunately not amount to a commensurate response and it’s critical to bring organisations together in a coordinated way.”

Chris Southworth, Secretary General from the International Chambers of Commerce UK, said: “To this point there has been a disconnect between the global priority to drive digital transformation and the level of investment in infrastructure to implement it. The current crisis and rapid digitization of the working environment is a huge opportunity to move the digitisation agenda forward and generate more inclusive and sustainable trade opportunities.”

Adrian Lovett, President and CEO at World Wide Web Foundation, said: “This crisis shows more than ever that the web is not a luxury. It’s a lifeline. As the world shuts down and goes online, billions of people around the world can’t use the web to access critical health advice, stay connected to loved ones and work from home. The resulting economic and social impact is devastating.

“We must double down on our efforts to bring the benefits of the internet to more people. As the world continues to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, extending access to everyone, everywhere must be a top priority for leaders across the globe.”

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