In an exclusive interview with the Washington-based Inside Arabia Magazine Abu-Ghazaleh Envisions the World Post COVID-19 Crisis
AMMAN- The world was already in crisis when the Coronavirus (COVID-19) surfaced. What COVID-19 contributed is that it sprayed more ‘salt on the wounds’ of the global economy, HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and founder of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global (TAG.Global) told the Washington-based Inside Arabia magazine in an interview.
Inside Arabia, an online news publication that provides in-depth news and analysis, focused on Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh’s vision and earlier predictions of an economic crisis and his views regarding the impact of the COVID-19 on the Middle East both economically and politically.
At the outset, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh highlighted the efforts of Jordan’s government headed by His Majesty King Abdullah II in fighting the COVID-19 saying “Jordan did the best performance in fighting such a pandemic and so far we only had nine fatalities. Jordan established a special unit with full authority to lead the fight against the Coronavirus.”
“Saving lives is very important but saving the economy is important as well, and both should be addressed in parallel,” he said, adding “The crisis existed before the Coronavirus and I have warned back in 2017 and on several occasions that the world is approaching a major crisis that will start in the United States and will last longer, with far more devastating impact on Western economies, causing stagflation and leading to bankruptcies,”.
“Today, we are witnessing the impact, as I predicted, on so many levels that is affecting the Western countries and subsequently the Arab region, resulting in high unemployment rates and inflation, to be ultimately followed by a World War . We cannot blame everything on Coronavirus,” Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh further affirmed.
Regarding possible solutions in facing such a crisis whether regionally or globally, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh said, “If we want to give credibility to the IMF which said the exit out of this depression in each country will depend on the measures taken or to be taken; several countries started early enough in imposing economic measures such as restructuring and decisions to support the economy by adding incentives or providing additional liquidity.”
“Now every country in the world realizes that we are in a depression and that there is a need to take action. In my opinion, there is something good in everything that is bad. Since 2001, I have been stating that we need to have a revolution in our educational institutions, economy and government towards digitalization and now Coronavirus forced us towards such a path. Digitalizing became more of a necessity than a luxury and we need to become a digital society in everything,” he said.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh who submitted 16 points in facing such a crisis believes that becoming self-sufficient and independent is another solution.
“When the United States sneezes, the whole world catches a cold. I think that it is obvious that no one should expect anything from the US as it has its own problems now internally, unemployment and huge deficits. Today, there is no world leader,” he said.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh who has a strong presence in the Gulf region through his offices in every major city in the GCC countries believes that the COVID-19 impact was less in the Gulf region saying, “if we look at the European Union which is a union; the GCC is not a union and it is only an association and an umbrella for cooperation; each country in the EU closed its borders when the virus started as if saying I don’t care about my neighbor and “I” come first.”
“The Corona proved that there is no union and in my opinion the EU is facing two challenges whether to restructure itself to become a real union or it will not exist in the near future; meanwhile in the Gulf, there was no open borders from the beginning, it was only agreements on customs and travel and they were very independent; so the damage was much less than what the EU countries dealt with,” Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh said.
The challenging relation between the US and China was also tackled by Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh re affirming his view that “The world is now in cold war phase.”
“The cold war means that the two countries will have complete boycott, no trade relation, real threat regarding currency as China said it will have nothing to do with the dollar and it will have its own currency e-RMB – a digital currency in the future, and has already begun trials in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu and Xiong’an. There are a number of basic problems between the two countries focused on one objective only and that is “who will be the next world leader,” he said.
“The crisis and emerging conflicts will lead to the third world war or a military confrontation between the US and China. However, the two superpowers will meet to end the war, as all wars end, with agreements. A new world order governed by the G-2 (US and China) will emerge. The Arab region will witness a renaissance that will herald a global Marshal-like economic plan leading to a global economic recovery and prosperity,” he said.