Conclusion and policy recommendations

The building of productive capacities is a key strategy in accelerating structural transformation, promoting inclusive economic growth and achieving sustainable development. Only by advancing their productive resources, entrepreneurial capabilities and production linkages can economies enhance their abilities to grow and develop and reduce their vulnerabilities to external shocks, whether economic, political or health-related shocks. The COVID-19 pandemic reveals not only the systemic interconnectedness and interdependence of countries, but also the socioeconomic fragility and inequality within and between countries. As shown in the present study, overall weak performances in human capital, ICTs and institutions make countries more vulnerable to unexpected external shocks such as the pandemic and their impact on socioeconomic performance, further compounding difficulties in containing the virus and addressing the related impacts on development.

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