According to the World Bank report published on January 5, 2021, the outlook for the global economy appears very fragile and varies from region to region.

The collapse of the world economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic compares with the deep recessions after both the first and second world wars. The vast majority of countries have borrowed eyewatering sums of money in order to prevent a sudden crash of their economies.

David Malpass, the World Bank’s president, believes: “To overcome the impacts of the pandemic and counter the investment headwind, there needs to be a major push to improve business environments, increase labour and product market flexibility, and strengthen transparency and governance.”

The economic impact of Covid-19 in the UK has been unprecedented amongst all advanced economies, we have faced the largest decline in 300 years. Well over 11,000 outlets ceased trading permanently. About one million people lost their jobs. The job losses have hit young people and the disadvantaged the hardest.

Unfortunately, the UK government's Kickstart scheme, aimed at tackling youth unemployment, has so far, been a total failure. The government has borrowed over two trillion pounds in order to support the economy and prevent it from a total collapse.

The furlough scheme has been highly successful, and has slowed the loss of many high-skilled workforces and the eventual mass redundancies.

However, according to recent reports, there are still approximately 4.7 million workers on furlough. There is a great danger that we may still see an avalanche of redundancies when the scheme nears the end.

Fortunately, the UK has been very successful in rolling out the vaccines. We are now in a much better position to sail through the recession and recover quicker than many other nations.

It is very pleasing to see how well Wales used its devolved powers to combat the pandemic so effectively; rolling out vaccines amongst its population faster than any nations in the world, with the exception of Israel.

Wales also managed to support its small businesses and hospitality, especially in North Wales, preventing our communities from catastrophic economic and social collapse.


The Welsh Government-owned Development Bank of Wales (DBW) supported and saved thousands of Welsh businesses and jobs, where mostly foreign-owned high street banks refused to help.

However, our manufacturing sector, which is the crown jewel of North Wales’ economy, has not seen any support apart from furlough. Sadly, our great engineering sector has seen thousands of high-skilled job losses, especially within aerospace.

Despite all the recent economic shocks, North Wales is in a unique position to ride through all the challenges and develop a world-class economy.

North Wales has to rely on its own homegrown leadership and keep its optimism and high aspirations alive. The North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) - a cross-party board with representatives from all the six councils - has embarked on a 15-year development plan to transform North Wales’ economic prospects.

The NWEAB is now working shoulder to shoulder with the private sector (Business Delivery Board) and the community stakeholders, to roll out some of the most ambitious and aspirational infrastructure projects.

North Wales has now potential to bring well over a billion pounds of private sector investment into the region. There is a real opportunity within our grasp to tap into the well-over a trillion-dollar green technology market, branding North Wales as one of the world’s leading regions for renewable energy technology.

Building on the existing great manufacturing and engineering foundation, North Wales could be transformed into technologically one of the most advanced economies in Europe, creating skilled and well-paid employment.

Askar Sheibani is the founder and CEO of Comtek Network Systems UK Ltd.