📈 Future Trends — Trade Wars, Stabilizing Oil, Bail Outs

Welcome, Future Trends readers. 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:

Africa in need of external financing. With per capita GDP expected to contract by 4% and a government finance gap of $114 billion dollars, the continents governments are in need of fiduciary solutions to address the needs of their populations.

Xi Jinping’s billion dollar coup. China’s president is using the annual WHO assembly to demonstrate its strength. Xi promises billions of dollars in aid and proudly listed that over 200 million people in Africa have received treatment and nursing from medical teams in China over the last 70 years.

World Bank Group: 100 countries get support in response to COVID-19. The World Bank has announced emergency funding of $160 billion for 100 developing countries. The funding scheme will be used to protect the poor and vulnerable by aiding economic recovery. The funding scheme is the largest and fastest crisis response in the Bank Groups history.

Oil prices are modestly recovering as countries ease on lockdown measures. Oil prices have begun to stabilize as countries start to allow businesses to reopen, people to move more freely, and rise their demand for oil as a result. Experts have warned of another drop if cases and deaths of COVID-19 rise again.

Total number of unemployed Americans rises to 38.6m. The Federal Reserve has warned that a full economic recovery may not take place until an effective COVID-19 vaccine is developed.

Coronavirus testing still a challenge for Africa. Global demand for test kits and lack of local manufacturing capacity has resulted in low testing numbers on the continent. There is also a vast disparity among different African countries, with some only having conducted mere hundreds of tests.

Ethnic minorities more at risk from COVID-19 in UK. Black people are nearly twice as likely to die of the coronavirus as white people, while Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are also at a significantly higher risk. Thirty-three percent of critically ill coronavirus patients are from ethnic minorities.

The Germans are moving away from globalization. Historically, the majority of Germans saw globalization as an opportunity. In a recent survey, only 38.3 percent of those surveyed stated that globalization was seen as an opportunity, whereas 57.7 percent felt it was a risk.

Catholic priest uses water gun to keep believers at a social distance in Detroit. Tim Pelc has been distributing his holy water with a toy gun since Easter. Equipped with a mask, face shield and gloves, the 70-year-old also blesses objects brought in the car.

China imposed punitive tariffs of more than 80% on imports of Australian barley. Many analysts believe it to be retaliation by China after Australia pushed for an inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. China has already imposed a ban on imports from four Australian meat-processing plants.

Trade war between US and China ratchets up. Chinese companies could be delisted from the US stock exchanges. The US Senate passed a bill that would require Chinese firms that want to be listed to verify they were not controlled by a foreign government, and undergo an audit by US auditors, which Chinese law prohibits.

Palestinians declare end to security coordination with US and Israel. The Palestinians have suspended contacts with the CIA after announcing an end to security coordination with Israel and the United States in protest at Israeli proposals to annex territory in the West Bank, a Palestinian official said.

COVID-19 may reshape Algeria’s political system. Algeria is using the crisis to stifle ongoing peaceful protest movements. In the face of powerful popular opposition that demands reform, the post-COVID-19 period will be a litmus test of the Algerian governments response.

Southern African leaders meet to discuss Mozambique’s deteriorating security. The latest media reports say the situation has deteriorated in the past month, and that the insurgents have killed nearly 1,000 people and displaced tens of thousands more.

US to pull out of Open Sky treaty. Citing concerns over Russia non-compliance, the US has pulled out of the 30 country treaty. NATO allies have been pressing the Trump administration not to withdraw from the treaty, with Trump’s decision possibly aggravating tensions within the alliance.

America’s far right is energised by COVID-19 lockdowns. In over 30 of America’s 50 state capitals, angry crowds have been gathering to protest against stay-at-home orders. Buoyed by tweets from President Trump encouraging them to ‘liberate’ their states, some even compare their elected officials to the Nazis.

The death of Lebanon’s middle class. Over the last few months, the Lebanese lira devalued by 60 percent, precisely as the pandemic lockdown shuttered businesses and produced mass layoffs. Seventy-five percent of the population is in need of assistance, most of whom previously hailed from the middle class. The country is also home to 2 million refugees.

Oxfam withdraws operations from 18 countries amid COVID-19 related financial pressures. Oxfam has been forced to lay off nearly one third of its staff and to withdraw its operations from 18 countries including Thailand, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Benin, Sudan, Rwanda, and others. In some of these countries, Oxford has been present for over fifty years.

Russia and UNDP announce US$30m top-up in joint fund. In a push to achieve the SDGs Russia has announced its commitment to expand its global development support via UNDP. This latest funding allocation targets socio-economic development, climate change adaptation, and gender and youth empowerment.

Human development on course to decline this year for the first time since 1990. For the first time since the concept was introduced in 1990, according to UNDP, human development could decline because of COVID-19. The current ‘triple hit to health, education and income’ may halt development trends on multiple fronts.