ūüďą Future Trends ‚ÄĒ Disputed Borders, Debt Relief, Forced Exile

Welcome to the June 23rd, 2020 edition of Future Trends.¬†This series, curated by the Institute for Economics & Peace, takes a look at global news which may provide insight to the future. Here’s what you need to know this week:



The oil and gas sector now worth less than Apple.¬†It was once worth $3 trillion, it is now worth less than Apple’s $1.5 trillion market capitalization. Oil and gas companies are now in uncharted territory. COVID-19 has resulted in¬†unprecedented falls in demand¬†for oil and gas.

Hezbollah head prefers China to IMF for Lebanon¬†bailout.¬†Hezbollah chief claims¬†China is poised to fill Lebanon’s economic gap¬†through train, port and power plant outlays.

The German Federal Ministry of Finance reports almost 20% fall in revenue for the year to May. VAT was down 21% in May and revenue from air traffic tax fell by almost 97%.

Global foreign direct investment projected to plunge 40% in 2020. This would bring FDI below $1 trillion for the first time since 2005. In addition, FDI is projected to decrease by a further 5% to 10% in 2021.
World Investment Report 2020 from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development



Hitler’s birthplace shows that confronting dark past can take decades.¬†In Austria, debate over¬†confronting one link to Adolf Hitler¬†has taken decades, and it’s not over yet. In many nations, statues and other links to the¬†colonial period and racism are being destroyed¬†or removed.

Pope Francis¬†calls Catholics¬†to divest from fossil fuels.¬†The Pope urged Catholics to do due diligence on their personal investments and¬†exclude ‘companies that do not satisfy certain parameters’¬†in terms of human rights, child labour, and protection of the environment.

Zimbabwe anti-corruption body starts audit of the rich. Zimbabwean authorities say people who cannot explain where their wealth came from are in danger of having their assets seized, even if courts clear them of a corruption allegation.



EU leaders lectured China’s¬†President and Premier in a testy summit.¬†The newly elected heads of the EU’s institutions chided President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang over Hong Kong’s autonomy,¬†accusations of pandemic disinformation¬†and restrictions on foreign investment. The meeting notably ended without a joint statement.

Kenya wins non-permanent seat on UN Security Council.¬†The East African country joins Niger and Tunisia as¬†Africa’s representatives¬†on the United Nation’s most powerful organ.

China’s¬†sea moves drive US and Philippines¬†back together.¬†Despite Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s best efforts to¬†reduce strategic dependence on the United States, China’s moves in the South China Sea have forced the populist leader to re-embrace his nation’s long time treaty ally.



20 Indian soldiers killed in hours-long brawl with Chinese military at disputed border. Chinese troops attacked Indian troops with iron bars during a mediation process. This is the largest number of people killed since 1962, when the two nuclear super powers clashed over the disputed territory.

Syria war: Assad under pressure as economic crisis spirals. Protesters are back on the streets in southern Syria, where the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad started in 2011. They are not mass demonstrations, but the slogans are the same and this time, the edge comes from a lack of food.

Germany: Quarantined housing block residents attack police. Around 120 people are thought to be infected at a block of apartments in the city of Göttingen. Angry at being kept inside, residents threw stones, tires and a computer, before being forced back with tear gas. The entire complex with 700 residents has now been ordered to remain in lockdown.



One per cent of humanity now lives in forced exile. In the last 10 years the number of people forcibly displaced has almost doubled to 80 million. Of that figure, 46 million are internally displaced refugees in their own countries.

China to consider debt relief under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The announcement was made during a high-level online conference, which discussed economic cooperation and COVID-19 responses.

Alarm at record-breaking heatwave in Siberia. The freak temperatures have been linked to wildfires, a huge oil spill and a plague of tree-eating moths. On a global scale, the Siberian heat is helping push the world towards its hottest year on record in 2020, despite a temporary dip in carbon emissions owing to the coronavirus pandemic.