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The GCC post-pandemic: Massive and fast transformation

As our region emerges from the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are entering a new phase of transformation, which will be massive in scale and extremely fast moving.

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The GCC is at the epicentre of the megatrends

Five long-term transformational changes were already at work shaping our world - the "megatrends".

Unemployment reached 8.2% in KSA in 2020 ... read more

Abu Dhabi Sweihan solar power park was largest in the world when it started operating in 2019 ... read more

China, India, Japan and South Korea are KSA’s biggest export markets ... read more

^ 93% of KSA citizens between the ages of 10 and 73 are internet users ... read more

2.5 million pilgrims travelled to Mecca for the Hajj in 2019 ... read more

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COVID-19 has the overall impact of speeding up the ADAPT forces

Even prior to COVID-19, leaders needed to respond quickly, changing their strategies and approach to address the challenges created by the rapid pace of change. We captured these in our ADAPT framework. Both globally and locally, the impact of COVID-19 has made a significant, and generally negative, impact on each of the ADAPT forces – catalysing change at even greater speed.

Global impact

  • The poor (people, regions, countries) will get hit the hardest
  • Unemployment at the bottom of the wealth pyramid, which will also grow
  • Massive failure of small business
  • Sovereign debt and GDP growth issues

Local impact

  • Exposure of structural economic weaknesses
  • Competitive edge for large companies
  • Pressure in urban infrastructure and resources

Global impact

  • Strength and influence of big technology platform companies will grow faster
  • In the short-term, climate worries are forgotten as the world deals with the crisis, but in the medium/ long-term people are likely to become more socially conscious

Local impact

  • Increased adoption of Industry 4.0
  • Dominance of major tech players
  • New ways of living, working and consuming

Global impact

  • Increased pressure on young countries as there are fewer job opportunities
  • Increased pressure on pensions and social welfare systems in older countries
  • Challenges stimulating job creation in developing markets compounds the issue
  • Intergenerational debate

Local impact

  • Youth bulge and unemployment challenges
  • Ageing population and the looming pensions crisis
  • Shift to preventive and personalised healthcare

Global impact

  • Increased localisation of economies due to supplychain issues
  • Heightened nationalism as nation states look to blame “others” and protect themselves
  • The potential for humanity to come together after the crisis to solve important problems

Local impact

  • Jockeying among superpowers
  • Slowbalisation and localisation
  • Challenges of global and regional integration

Global impact

  • Distrust in institutions and their ability to respond fairly will grow
  • Some institutions and leaders will come out of the crisis with a stronger reputation

Local impact

  • Citizen-centric and platform governments
  • Transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future
  • Integrated safety and security management

Five key transformation themes in the GCC

Globally, governments and societies will re-evaluate what success looks like in the future. In the past, putting GDP growth and shareholder value above all other measures resulted in unprecedented globalisation and wealth creation, and lifted many people out of poverty. But over time, this model has produced extreme disparities, put jobs at risk in many countries, weakened communities and social cohesion and damaged the environment. Going forward, we need to define a local-first and more interdependent and inclusive definition of success.

To achieve the new definition of success in the GCC region, many interdependent factors must be considered. However in five key areas, an accelerated cycle of repair, rethink and reconfigure will be vital to achieving massive and fast transformation.

Five key transformation themes in the GCC

See how we have worked with our region's major organisations to put transformation into action, together

 
Reimagine
Reimagining government services
Engage
Engaging with patients virtually
Transform
Transforming mobility with cloud and AI technology
Trust
Building trust in critical infrastructure

Reimagine

Reimagining government services

A Middle East government had a portfolio of digital and non-digital government services which were delivered in a fragmented way through multiple platforms. They included healthcare, education, business, culture and tourism, housing, transport, and law and order. The government wanted to unify all these services using a single platform to provide citizens with a seamless, fully integrated and digitised experience for all their needs and requests.

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Engage

Engaging patients, virtually

During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health ministry of a Middle East government became concerned that people who needed medical attention were staying away from hospitals and clinics, and wanted to find a way to use digital tools to continue to offer care remotely, both for initial diagnoses and on-going treatment.

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Transform

Transforming mobility with AI and cloud

A transport authority in the Middle East wanted to understand its current artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and needs, and accelerate AI adoption and innovation across the organisation. The authority is responsible for the city’s transport networks and services, including public transport operations, road maintenance, traffic management and driver and vehicle licensing.

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Build Trust

Building trust in critical infrastructure

One of the world’s leading global and regional industrial companies, and a leader in the GCC region, wanted an independent review of the cybersecurity of its core manufacturing operations, covering both the information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) used in its plants worldwide. The aim was to ensure a consistent level of cybersecurity control at every site, and across both types of technology.

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Contact us

Stephen Anderson

Stephen Anderson

Middle East Strategy and Markets Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 4 304 3100