The most influential Megatrends set to shape the world through 2030, identified by Euromonitor International, help businesses better anticipate market developments and lead change for their industries.Learn More
As the global elite from political, business and academic arenas gathers for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos the world faces many challenges in 2014 and beyond. The theme of this year’s meeting is “The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business” in an effort to move away from the crisis management seen in the meetings of recent years.
Despite good news of a stronger economic recovery in advanced economies, the global economy remains fragile and risks are on the downside. The outlook for the medium term is weaker than we were used to pre-crisis and although the world economy appears to be normalising, this normal, as well as being fragile, is quite different to what we have been used to before the crisis.
Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics/Eurostat/OECD/UN/IMF
With many of the world’s major economies facing elections this year, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa amongst them, the global political landscape is set to change. Much more important than this – three years on from the Arab Spring – are the on-going developments in the Middle East. Dominating events is the continuing civil war in Syria which is having spillover effects in Jordan and Lebanon. But tensions are not limited to Syria: the Libyan government has declared a state of emergency in the south of the country; and although the yes vote for Egypt’s referendum on a new constitution received 98.1% of the vote it “ took place against a backdrop of arrests and detention of dissenting voices” according to Democracy International, a US consultancy.
It’s not just the Middle East which is experiencing unrest and instability, unrest is also engulfing Ukraine and threatens to do so in 2014 in Turkey.
Technology continues to shape the world. There are now more internet users in China than there are in the next 3 countries combined. As well as transforming marketing through digital advertising and social networking, technology is transforming more traditional sectors such as manufacturing and will continue to do so, with 3D printing and the ability to manufacture small amounts of products relatively cheaply huge trends to watch. In fact the power of technology to affect cost-savings for business in any sector is huge. In the future, consumers will be increasingly interacting with devices by more innovative means, especially through eye recognition, touchscreen and sensor-based technologies.
Technology has the power to drive economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 555 million now have mobile telephone subscriptions. With mobile internet access able to transform banking; as well as agriculture and education through access to information.
Grappling with big data, serving (and hiring) generation y, finding growth in uncertain times, transparency and the digital revolution are just some of the trends, offering both challenges and opportunities, facing business today.
In the World Bank’s 2014 Doing Business report, Singapore topped the global rankings for the ease of doing business, followed by Hong Kong, China; New Zealand; the USA; Denmark; Malaysia; South Korea; Georgia; Norway; and the UK. Meanwhile, Ukraine, Rwanda, Russia and the Philippines were amongst the top improvers.
A report by the World Trade Organization has found that 116 new trade restrictive measures were enacted in G-20 countries in the second half of 2013. An increase in protectionism remains a key risk for business and the wider economy.
With structural reforms needed in many emerging markets, and a new vigour needed in the eurozone, the world remains in flux in 2014 with many governments searching for sustainable growth. As leaders meet in Davos to discuss these themes, strength and dynamism in global governance is sorely needed. Yet enthusiasm for global institutions is weak – as is trust in many national governments. Strong, sustainable economic growth requires stable political foundations – without them the nascent recovery is on shaky ground.
Written by Sarah Boumphrey