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Global events to watch out for in 2024

On the cusp of innovation and stress between international borders, the year 2024 is important for several reasons. The world has changed after the COVID-19 pandemic and global economies are more related to one another than ever before. While there is a ‘new world order’ waiting to emerge with advancements in the fields of medicine, technology, mobility, AI and so on, there remains countries at war with each other. The following are some of the events to look out for in 2024.

2024: Year of the elections

Over 50 countries with a combined population of around 4.2 billion will hold national and regional elections in 2024. Countries like the United States, India, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa and Mexico are some popular countries holding elections. Even at home, many political leaders are predicting a federal election for Canada in 2024. With the current wars going on in Gaza, Sudan and Ukraine, elections in Taiwan are also to look out for.

According to US intelligence, President Xi Jinping wants his armed forces to be ready for an invasion by 2027. Taiwan is a geopolitical flashpoint and an invasion by China could lead to war with the United States. The stakes are high for whoever wins power in both Taiwan and the United States, and the strategy they pursue could deter a Chinese invasion or hasten it. More than half of Taiwanese citizens do not have confidence in their government’s ability to defend against an invasion from China with some citizens even taking civil defence workshops. The current ruling party in Taiwan advocates Taiwanese self-rule and the need to resist Chinese bullying, while the two opposition parties are keen to pursue warmer relations with China.

2024: Year of flying taxis

As Paris hosts the 2024 Olympic Games and the world’s best athletes compete on the ground, the world will be watching the mark of the start of eVTOLs (Electic Vertical Take-Off and Landing) that are entirely run on batteries and may very well be the future of public transport. With the Paris Olympics expected to be the global launchpad of flying taxis, the only thing holding back the wide acceptance of flying taxis globally is the readiness and the struggle of aviation regulators in working out how to certify flights. There are many companies across the world such as Volocopter, Joby Aviation, Archer Aviation and others in an industry that is expected to reach one trillion dollars by 2040. In October 2023, China approved EHang, the world’s first flying taxi that is soon expected to take passengers on pilotless joyrides over Guangzhou, China.

2024: Year of AI

2024 is bringing the focus on not just what AI can do, but how humans can control it. Amid the debate of being strict with AI or moving faster in growing the use of AI, there are two important conferences scheduled in South Korea and France to deliberate on the dangers and benefits of AI as the world embraces it further. There is a need for governments to be more transparent about how they deploy AI in decision-making. Events such as the 2021 AI welfare scandal that brought down the Dutch government and Australia’s “Robodebt” scandal that led to at least two suicides have directed to world to dig deeper into the possible threats of incorporating AI further into human life.

2024: The year industry cleans up

Industry (29%) and electricity (29%) have been the highest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions followed by agriculture, land use and waste (20%), transport (15%) and buildings (7%). The year 2024 is putting the spotlight back on the industry to clean up its act and adopt greener practices. Innovators across the world have been working on technologies to cut down the reliance on natural resources and move to sustainable energy. In 2023, the European Union introduced a carbon tax on imports and the world continues to look to the major economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia to roll out their versions of a carbon tax against large corporations. Canada is among 27 countries in the world that currently have an imposed carbon tax as a need to combat climate change.

2024: BRICS supremacy over G7

2024 is also the year when BRICS+ may push their supremacy over G7. BRICS consists of China and India, the fastest growing economies in the world, joined by the likes of Brazil, Russia and South Africa. 2024 is expected to see countries like Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joining in. BRICS+ is a formidable outfit with its members accounting for nearly half of the world population along with a significant share of GDP in purchasing power (63.2 trillion dollars in 2023, around 20% more than that of G7’s 52.3 trillion dollars). This is expected to shift the global power away from the United States and distribute it towards newer emerging economies of the world. The BRICS have created their own alternative to the World Bank and their currency swap lines, countering the influence of the IMF and the United States dollar. It will be interesting to watch how members of BRICS+ work together in 2024, especially when there have been tensions among its members in the recent past.

With excerpts from The Economist.