Christian Ketels, chairman of Orkestra’s Advisory Board, published an article where he discusses the role of regions in the pathway towards post-COVID competitiveness growth.
According to Ketels, there is a growing evidence showing that the pandemic is playing out differently across regions within countries. “Initially, the most competitive, globally connected, and dense locations where hit the hardest. But over time those most reliant on particularly exposed sectors like tourism could be the main victims, and more generally regions that are less competitive and thus often less resilient.” For the expert, the role of regions is going to evolve as we are now entering a new phase of the pandemic. “Adding a microeconomic pillar to the broader COVID-19 economic policy response gives regions new and more central roles. Regions are key in identifying the set of microeconomic actions critical for their specific context, including the specific set of sectors and companies that shape their economies. Regions control some of the core levers in this context, from the quality of local infrastructure to the engagement with clusters and SMEs to the efficiency with which local public services are being provided. Regions have unique access and trusted relationships to the business community, especially SMEs, enabling them to identify quickly what microeconomic barriers exist and how policy measures are working. And regions are critical in orchestrating the collective action without which competitiveness upgrading fails to gain momentum”.
Ketels also recommends close collaboration between regions and national policy makers. “Regional governments need to quickly communicate what they hear from local firms about disruptions along global value chains or difficulties in accessing capital to national governments. Cluster organizations and regional economic development organizations can be a key asset in the rapid alert function the European Commission introduced in its road map to lifting the containment measures”.
The expert concludes stating that “nations were critical to mobilize the emergency response to COVID-19. Regions (and cross-country collaboration) will play a growing role alongside them as the world slowly emerges from the pandemic.”
You can read the full article here.