Syndicate content

Future Development Forecasts 2015

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Despite their mixed record last year, Future Development's bloggers once again offer their predictions for 2015.  Eight themes emerge.
1. Global growth and trade. The US economy will strengthen far above predictions. Together with lower oil prices and a better business climate in emerging markets, this will create substantial positive spill-overs, including to the smaller export-oriented Asian economies, boosting the growth of their manufactured exports well above recent trends. The US will look to open new free trade agreements in Asia—India may try to join—and seek opportunities to do the same in Africa. Meanwhile, Germany will face increasing resistance to the free-trade agreement with America (TTIP), just as Angela Merkel celebrates her 10th year in office.

2. Europe. Lower oil prices will force Russia into a compromise on Ukraine. This should boost European investor confidence and Euro-Zone growth will surprise on the upside.

3. Latin America. Latin America will experience a rough year with social upheaval in Venezuela and Argentina.  Brazil will go through tough economic times but its political system will not only survive but emerge even stronger.

4. Africa. 2015 will be a mixed year for growth, poverty reduction, and stability in Sub-Sahara Africa. Nigeria will suffer the consequences of declining oil prices and political and social upheaval related to the 2015 general elections. In southern Africa, political maneuvering to replace the two lame-duck presidents in Zimbabwe and South Africa is likely to intensify, with consequent heightening of political uncertainty and a decline in foreign and domestic investment. Other elections in big or fragile countries (Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi, Chad, Niger), however, will consolidate the democratic gains achieved over the past decade. Lower commodity prices and the popular revolt against former Burkinabe President Campaore's attempt to extend his term-limit, will discourage other leaders from extending their mandates, leading to more peaceful democratic transitions. The pace of investment into Africa will slow, as exploration money drops off and higher US interest rates attract foreign investment to the US; but many investors will see the long-term potential of African industries such as renewable energy, fashion, farming and fisheries; and African leaders and their partners will recognize that they need to seize the opportunity to attract foreign investment now – a very slim window exists.

5. Asia. Asia will continue to do well on growth, benefiting from strong regional dynamics as well as strong US demand for imports. Its gradual restructuring toward meeting domestic demand will continue to serve it well. Asian firms will become more significant globally as innovators and competitors.

6. Middle East and North Africa.  The decline in oil prices will slow growth in oil exporters while boosting it slightly in oil importers.  Facing budgetary pressures, many oil exporters will reduce their energy subsidies, leading to more efficient economies.  Despite a more favorable external environment, oil importers will not slow their reform momentum.

7. Innovation. 2015 will be a defining year for technological progress with leaps made in space travel, electric cars, use of drones and ‘smart’ devices with health applications.

8. Demography. In 2015 we will see the global historical peak in the working-age population (16-64) of 66 percent. New research will also emerge pointing to a stagnation (and eventual decline) of the world population in the second half of 21st century. For the first time, the population debate will shift from the risk of a “population bomb” to concern about global population decline.

Our bloggers lamented the fact that there were no major sporting events in 2015, since that was the one category where last year's predictions were unambiguously correct. Instead, they offered predictions about the weather ("it will rain in Delhi sometime during the week of Bastille Day"), or history ("former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco will remain dead"). Finally, one blogger forecast the outcome of our forecasts: "I predict that about half of our predictions will be wrong, and half right (including this one)."

The following Future Development bloggers contributed to the 2015 Forecast: Alvaro Gonzalez, Borko Handjiski, Caroline Kende-Robb, Jacques Morisset, Jeffrey Hammer, Manu Bhaskaran, Martin Raiser, Njuguna Ndungu, Omar Arias, Servaas van der Berg and Tom Bundervoet.



Submitted by Jose Pepito Cunanan on

AGRICULTURE, as a GROWTH AREA is critical and crucial... adoption of the diversity of food crops and technology and management are the areas for production of crops for food, health and livelihood. traditional, indigenous, survival gardening and farming rather than monocropping and cash crops are the keys in dealing with hunger, malnutrition, impoverishment and unemployment; The Philippines has the Bahay Kubo farming system that uses V5 technology: Venture in Variety of Vertical Vine Veggies and C5: Crawler, Clinger, Creeper, Climber Crops...for food sufficiency and food security.

Submitted by Trish M. on

You are absolutely correct. Natural and sustainable will prevail and factory farming is coming to an end.

Submitted by PCM denault on

Sufficient Natural healthful foods grown to absorb little/no artificially added chemicals from soil treatments&mfg pricessill be challenge for Ag production & Healthcare as research finds chems in food contribute to health probs.

Submitted by Hari on

Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It’s the little changes which will make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing! TETJOB2014

Submitted by Ed on

Any reason for redefining the working age population to 16 to 65, from the traditional 15 to 65?

Submitted by Wolfgang on

Hi Ed, no this is a mistake. In fact the standard definition is 16-64! Thansk for spotting it. We will correct it. Wolfgang

Submitted by Jag on

Toss-A-Coin Development Bloggers predict:
1) On the one hand some countries will grow and on the other hand some will not.
2) On the one hand some people will become richer and on the other hand some will not.
3) On the one hand some innovations will succeed and on the other hand some will not.
4) On the one hand some predictions will turn out to be true and on the other hand some will not.
5) The sun will rise and set everyday in 2015.

Submitted by Thuso Mphela on

A mixed bag for Africa. Do the bloggers foresee any progress on a united Africa? Or are the sovereign states challenges too much to even resuscitate the debate on African unity?

Submitted by Badar u din chishti on

All these predictions are not 100% true. But it seems that Asian countries will definitely grow more, specially south Asian countries.

Submitted by Mungai Kinyanjui on

Sub Saharan Africa is experiencing low commodity prices and weaker currencies. This coupled with higher interest rates does not auger well for these economies.
All in all nice article.

Submitted by Paul Igbinoba on

Just less than a year ago, the economic horizon about Africa was quite bright fueled essentially by high commodity prices. Now the scenario has suddenly become palpably gloomy. The best option going forward for African economies – which I hope will become the basis of future predictions - is the need for them to become more inward looking.

Submitted by Eduardo Aranha on

Talking about development, I believe it's also important to talk about a sustainability. I don't know if my prediction will be right for this year (or if it's even a predcition), but I think that developing countries, like India for instance, could benefit a lot by thinking about a sustainable development.

Problems like poverty, health and quality of life could be solved. And I don't even talk about the environment and all that is happening with the climate - the major problem that is turning the attention of great countries to the topic of sustainable development.

It's shocking knowing that a great part of India population still lives in the dark, without electric energy. That, I believe, is the major barrier to development. By investing in renewable energies, they can light up the rural areas and improve the life quality. A few days ago I read a article about this problem: If India can find a solution in solar energy, other developing countires should also seek ways to apply the same strategy.

Add new comment