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Forecasting the world in 2017

The world is looking forward to welcoming 2017 with anxiety and hope for peace

Hussein Shobokshi

Published: Updated:

I am trying to understand the present by what happened yesterday but the task is not easy and thus attempting to read the future through analysis of what will happen is almost impossible to try at the best.

Very soon, the year 2016 will end as the world prepares to welcome the New Year. How will the New Year shape up and what are the most important factors that will affect it? This is the most important question for discussion and deliberation as we look forward.

As we all know, there is going to be a new administration in the White House. With the entry of Donald Trump from the Republican Party, a “package” of new policies is expected, especially on the economic front.

With Donald Trump at the helm, America will take a stronger stand against Iranian influence in the Middle East region and will raise its hand for outright intervention in Iraq and Syria to confront the extremist groups as the two have turned into an inter-continental risk.

As for the economic policies, America will be more “conservative” and will plan and encourage most of its industries to apply “protectionist policies” and so the world will see America protect itself economically. Therefore, the banner of globalization will go to China which began to promote itself globally with traditional allies of America in the heart of Asia (the Philippines and Thailand, for example) and it will ensure the continuity of open markets by offering incentives and other benefits.

The world is looking forward to welcoming 2017 with anxiety and hope for peace

Hussein Shobokshi

China is already doing so with South America, Africa and Europe and of course, Asia. Africa will also witness tremendous competition in its promising and growing market with intense competition between Japan and China in particular. European continent will not see any economic awakening because it will be immersed in electoral duels to reclaim political space from the far right, even if the latter fails to win decisively, but it will turn into an influential political force as in the past many years it was not considered as politically strong.

The world will undergo very important technological transformation with serious tests for driverless cars, and a significant increase in the spread of “artificial intelligence” applications in a lot of elements of life, whether recreational, scientific or economic. This technology will create enormous shift in the world of architecture and design so buildings and infrastructure will have higher rate of “intelligence” in dealing with emergencies and natural disasters.

The use of hard currency will be reduced significantly in favor of electronic payments with effective and influential technology with overall acceptance but it will reflect negatively on the labor market. This in turn will see a huge increase in unemployment rate because technical staff will come as an alternative to the traditional workforce.

China will increase its domination in the South China Sea with significant influence at the expense of the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan and Japan and all of them will not be able to counter China’s lust for power in the region.

Putin will exercise his presence in the center of Eastern Europe, Middle East and areas of influence in the heart of the central Asian republics and will have no objections from America.

2017 will be an economically difficult year with absence of growth opportunities but India will see significant leaps.

The world is looking forward to welcoming 2017 with anxiety and hope for peace!

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 26, 2016.
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Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa

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